This workshop focuses on international mobilities and migration as a way to understand the impacts of WWII across the Asia-Pacific region. Crises, including war, famine, natural disasters, political upheavals (such as revolution), epidemics and pandemics, create human mobilities and migration on a large scale. WWII was no exception. Charles Tilly describes World War II as “one of the greatest demographic whirlwinds to sweep the earth” (Tilly 2006). This demographic whirlwind also swept through the battlefields of the Asia Pacific region. While there is substantial research on war mobilities in the European context (deportees, expellees, refugees, etc.), much less is documented about similar experiences in Asia and the Pacific, despite ample cases of such mobilities (forced labourers, POWs, evacuees, etc.).
This disparity likely results from two factors. First, war histories tend to be researched within a paradigm of national history at the expense of inter-regional war mobilities. Second, international migration studies (IMS) have paid scarce attention to war migration/mobilities in Asia. This workshop will challenge dominant paradigms in both war histories and IMS and enrich various social histories of war.
By identifying various types of war mobilities and migration, the transnational connections or disconnections resulting from them, and the manifested outcomes of these mobilities, this workshop aims to present complex histories of World War II and to shift familiar ways of understanding this war, and the empires and (changing) borders that have often defined it.
This workshop is free and open to the public.