Mobilities, Exclusion, and Migrants’ Agency in the Pacific Realm in a Transregional and Diachronic Perspective

Mobilities, Exclusion, and Migrants’ Agency in the Pacific Realm in a Transregional and Diachronic Perspective

Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington
United States
From - Until
01.06.2020 - 02.06.2020
Heike Friedman

Conference at the University of California, Berkeley

Conveners: 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

This conference is part of the Max Weber Foundation’s collaborative research project “Knowledge without Borders,” module “Interaction and Knowledge in the Pacific Region: Entanglements and Disentanglements.”

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 (friedman[at] 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 (manke[at]

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.


Contact (announcement)

Heike Friedman, Program Officer
Pacific Regional Office of the
German Historical Institute Washington
202 Moses Hall
University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-2316
Telefon +1 510 643 4558
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