Two-day symposium on memory and trauma through the history and culture of migrations announced for October 9th and 10th

September 29, 2020

We are pleased to announce, in collaboration with the Department of Humanities and with co-sponsorship from the Institute for Humanities, a two-day online symposium entitled "Memory and Trauma Through History and Culture: Migrations" on October 9th and 10th.

The 2015 Migration Crisis highlighted not only the enduring tragedy of mass displacement at the heart of global migratory flows but also the failure of migratory politics to address it. Crises seem to have become the status quo of the current century but perhaps the real crisis is the inability of social discourse to produce concrete analysis beyond a depoliticized humanitarianism and to transform analysis in action. How can the Humanities intervene in such discourse? The study of mass migration is often done in isolation, both in terms of the events themselves and in terms of academic disciplines. Also, the experiences of individuals participating in these events are often neglected due to migration studies being a policy-driven field. This event, a multidisciplinary initiative examining migration in different geographic and historic contexts, will highlight the continuities and breaks that exist within the phenomenon. The symposium will also offer political and cultural insights into how migration has, and continues to, shape our world, and in so doing establish a dialogic space on the issue.

Friday, October 9th from 2:30-6:30 pm and Saturday, October 10th, 2020 from 9:30-3:30pm


This event is free and open to the public. Register before Wednesday, October 7th, to receive a link to the webinars. Missed the registration deadline? Send an email to if you would still like to participate.

Event schedule

Friday, October 9th: 2:30 - 6:30 PM PT

Keynote Presentation - 2:45 PM

Moderator: Shuyu Kong, Simon Fraser University

Canada's Chinese Immigration Act: British Columbia’s Case for Exclusion


Panel I: Migrations in Modern History - 3:15 PM

Moderator: Julian Brooks, Douglas College

Children of Silence: Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Remembering as Trauma

Mobilised Memories of Displacement and Violence

Recreating the Past: Historiography in the People’s Republic of Macedonia, 1945-1991


Panel II: Culture, Art and Migration - 4:45 PM

Moderator: Clint Burnham, Simon Fraser University

Walker’s Tales: Mobility as Method

Speech Acts in Search of a Subject: From Victimization to Enunciation in Recent Immigrants’ Life Writing in Italy

Inherited Memories: Fetishistic and Fantastic (Mis)Rememberings of Palestine


Saturday, October 10th: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM PT

Panel III: Migration and Politics - 9:35 AM

Moderator: Sanem Guvenc, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Scenes from a Traumatic History of Political Theory

Recodifying the Refugee: Palestine, Unspeakable Traumas, and Global Solidarity

Indigenous People and Migration in 21st Century Canada


Panel IV: Migrations in Antiquity, Renaissance and Medieval History - 11:30 AM

Moderator: Dimitris Krallis, Simon Fraser University

The Rebuilding of an Armenian Kingdom: Memory, Myth, Restorative Nostalgia, and the Archaeological Landscape

Migration under the Byzantine Empire: The Case of the Hot Border in Nisibis


Panel V: Migrations and Impact on the Individual - 2:00 PM

Moderator: Alessandra Capperdoni, Simon Fraser University

Trauma and Memory Transmission: Silence and the Body

Memories from War: Living in Borderless Zones

Three Centuries, Three Continents, One Family



Co-organizers include assistant professor and Edward and Emily McWhinney Professor in International Relations James Horncastle, and lecturers Eirini Kotsovili and Alessandra Capperdoni from Simon Fraser University’s Department of Humanities.

For more information about the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and its programs, please visit our Media page.

To learn more about SFU's Department of Political Science, please visit their website.