Call for Papers: “Mobilities, Exclusion, and Migrants’ Agency in the Pacific Realm in a Transregional and Diachronic Perspective”

Conference at the University of California, Berkeley, June 1-2, 2020­, convened by Albert Manke (GHI’s Regional Office at UC Berkeley) and Sören Urbansky (German Historical Institute Washington) | Partners: Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley; German Historical Institute Moscow; German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo


We invite historians and scholars from other disciplines to revisit the exclusion of migrants and their agency in coping with exclusion in light of the dynamics of mobility in and across the Pacific. More specifically, we want to focus on the various and entangled ways in which migration, exclusion, and racism have influenced government policies, perceptions of migrants in host societies, and migrants’ agency in the Pacific region since the nineteenth century. Shaped by colonial and imperial legacies, migration regimes around the globe today still operate at the nexus of mobility, racism, and xenophobia. This dynamic is twofold, as negative prejudice goes hand in hand with positive discriminatory attitudes and practices that produce privileged modes of mobility. Migrants’ reactions to negative prejudice and exclusion have ranged from resistance to adaption to indifference, all of which can become means of coping. The formation of coping strategies, in turn, can contribute to the empowering of migrant communities and to the development of more inclusive societies.

To develop this perspective, we expect papers that explore the shifting intersections and interactions between migration and exclusion through empirical case studies. We are particularly interested in three interrelated topics: the regulation of migration by empires and nation-states, the discourses in the receiving societies and in migrant communities, and the strategies developed by migrants to cope with racialized exclusion and discrimination. We welcome comparative and transregional studies that explore policies of exclusion, the rise and decline of stereotypes, and the ways in which migrants challenged discrimination.

We hope to gain a more comprehensive picture of the nexus of migration, exclusion, and migrants’ agency. We expect that the contributions to this conference will illuminate the dynamics of how the regulation and negotiation of migration and belonging has shaped, and been shaped by, migrants’ agency. A better understanding of the agency of migrants can illuminate intimate knowledge of the interactions that continually created new modes of networks and sociability through formal and informal ways of negotiating belonging in and across the Pacific.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The linkage of migration and exclusion around the Pacific Rim against the background of imperial expansion in historical and postcolonial perspective;
  • Transregional comparisons of policies of exclusion and the ideas, laws, and institutions that tied them together;
  • The effects of negative stereotypes and racialized discriminatory policies on everyday encounters and interpersonal relations between migrants and members of the host society or other migrant groups;
  • The production and dissemination of migrants’ knowledge and their strategies to cope with exclusion, racism and xenophobia.

Please upload a brief CV including your name, institutional affiliation, and email contact and a proposal of no more than 300 words by November 30, 2019 to our online portal. Please contact Heike Friedman if you have any questions regarding the procedure of submitting your information online. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of December 2019. For questions regarding the conference, please contact Dr. Albert Manke.

Young family, hitchhiking on U.S. Highway 99, California. They came from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, early in 1935. Photographer: Dorothea Lange. | Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

In case of approval, we will ask you to submit your previously unpublished paper (of about 4,000-5,000 words including references) by May 1st, 2020, as we want to work with pre-circulated papers and aim to publish selected papers presented at the conference in a peer-reviewed venue. This conference is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Basic expenses for travel and accommodation (one author per paper) will be covered.


Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

1 Response

  1. 22. June 2020

    […] event is a prelude to the conference “Mobilities, Exclusion, and Migrants’ Agency in the Pacific Realm in a Transregional and Diachro… that will take place in Berkeley next year (June 2021). The panel discussion is organized by the […]

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