4 Faculty Panelists Discuss European Crisis in Historical Perspective

As the Syrian war draws on and the ranks of displaced people grows ever larger, Europe arguably faces its largest refugee crisis since World War II. The movement of people across the Mediterranean and the Balkans has alternately revealed official incapacity, reactionary violence, and outpourings of voluntarism and support. In recent weeks, some commentators have objected to the characterization of those in flight as migrants, insisting that the term misrepresents their movement as voluntary as a way of denying them basic human rights.

On Sept. 17, four faculty panelists discussed “Refugee or Migrant? The European Crisis in Historical Perspective,” as part of the Department of History’s History Matters series. The faculty questioned “how can other instances of voluntary and involuntary migration shed light on the current crisis?”

The four scholars, Bruce Masters, Marguerite Nguyen, Laura Ann Twagira and Peter Rutland, put the European crisis in historical perspective by analyzing varied experiences of displacement, from the persistent plight of African asylum seekers in Europe to the Southeast Asian diaspora in the United States.

The four scholars, Bruce Masters, Marguerite Nguyen, Laura Ann Twagira and Peter Rutland, put the European crisis in historical perspective by analyzing varied experiences of displacement, from the persistent plight of African asylum seekers in Europe to the Southeast Asian diaspora in the United States.

Panelist Peter Rutland is the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Panelist Peter Rutland is the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Panelist Marguerite Nguyen is assistant professor of English.

Panelist Marguerite Nguyen is assistant professor of English.

Panelist Laura Ann Twagira, at right, is assistant professor of history.

Panelist Laura Ann Twagira, at right, is assistant professor of history.

Panelist Bruce Masters is the John E. Andrus Professor of History.

Panelist Bruce Masters is the John E. Andrus Professor of History.

Several members of the audience spoke to the panelists and responded to the discussion.

Several members of the audience spoke to the panelists and responded to the discussion. (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)