SER Hypothèses

Who is a Refugee?

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, signed at Geneva on 28 July 1951, defined who is eligible for and what constitutes asylum for refugees under international law. Its universal expansion in 1967 remains the cornerstone for today’s global refugee regime, which has shaped the legal definition of the refugee and rights to asylum for over fifty years. Well before the second half of the twentieth century, however, the term refugee and related concepts were used, debated, shaped and mobilized by a variety of historical actors and state authorities in different regions of the world. And despite being inscribed in international law, refugee status and asylum remain contested and politicized, and continue to apply unevenly to people fleeing violence and oppression. This workshop seeks to build upon the emerging field of refugee history by focusing on the transition and overlap between early modern and modern periods.