Historical Social Research

Christoph Rass & Ismee Tames: Negotiating the Aftermath of Forced Migration: A View from the Intersection of War and Migration Studies in the Digital Age. [Abstract]

This introductory essay revisits the handling of mass displacement caused by Nazi Germany and the Second World War during the 1940s and 1950s from the intersection of three corresponding perspectives: reflexive migration research, war studies, and digital methods. Whereas "displaced persons" simply seem to be a given in much of existing research, we propose to reflect on categories, terms, narratives, and approaches to gain a refined understanding of how migration and mobility are negotiated. To this end, the article applies spatial, normative, and chronological models used in forced migration studies, adopts the concept of migration regimes, and opts to deconstruct the production of meaning within institutions created to regulate the aftermath of forced migration. At the same time we engage in the discussion of digital methods and “big data” in historical migration research to explore new ways to use digitized sources in innovative ways to both reconstruct lives and pathways, patterns in decision making and the cultural translation of “migration” into personal files, statistics, and textual as well as visual accounts.

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