Since 2015, one research focus of the German Historical Institute (GHI) Washington DC has been the history of flight and forced migration. In this context, the institute has jointly organized two conferences on Jewish refugees in global transit between the 1930s and 1960s with external partners: one in 2018 in Kolkata, India, and another in 2019 at the GHI Pacific Regional Office in Berkeley. In 2020, the online workshop “Jewish Refugees in Global Transit: Spaces – Temporalities – Interactions” inspired a more general, conceptual, and theoretically informed exchange about “transit.” The participants discussed its analytical potential and connections to other innovative fields of historical research like refugee history, imperial history, and postcolonial history. The fourth event in the series – the online workshop “Archives of Global Transit: Reconsidering Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe” in October 2021 – advanced the discussion with a focus on methodological questions and the sources available to approach transit and in-betweenness.
In the Summer and Fall of 2022, the “Exploring Migrants’ Liminal Spaces and Phases” lecture series as part of the GHI’s research focus “In Global Transit” is bringing together experts on migration and refugee studies from different disciplines and thematic areas. The series opens an interdisciplinary conversation across contexts about the methods, potentials, and challenges of studying transit.