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CfP: "Finance & Migration", European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) - National Bank of Greece, Athens, 11.6.2020

28-01-2020 21:28

This conference will look at the relationship between the financial sector and migration -
taking a comparative historical view. 

It’s impossible to look at human history without acknowledging continuous migratory flows 
and mass movements with the rise and fall of empires and nations. We are interested in 
scholarly work on how these movements of people were financed during chaotic times and 
how these migrants were integrated into the financial systems of the country of their 
arrival. Which is the spectrum of agency between private networks, state responsibility and 
the banks in between?

Considering the excellent archival sources of the National Bank of Greece, the case of 
Greece after the end of the Ottoman Empire and the ensuing population exchange with 
Turkey is a particularly interesting case to study. It offers an opportunity to revisit the Treaty 
of Lausanne (1923) and the role of the League of Nations from this angle. How were the 
integration and rehabilitation of these refugees financed? Topics of interest include the 
provision of immediate economic relief, launch and management of refugee loans and 
exchangeable property, urban rehabilitation, redistribution of lands and the link between 
migration, finance and industrialisation. Research on this case could come from the 
perspectives of the League of Nations (Geneva), the Foreign Office Records (U.K.), the Bank 
of England, Hambros Bank (and other foreign banks that underwrote the Greek refugee 
loans), the Centre for Asia Minor Studies, the Agricultural Bank of Greece Archives, the 
Greek State Archives, etc.

The cases to be studied in this regard are manifold. After the Great War and the end of the 
Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, European States were bankrupt or even worse,
had fallen into hyperinflation. How did the financial system deal with the hundreds of
thousands of people that moved from and to Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, etc.? Or at 
the same time the Mexican repatriation/ expulsion during the Great Depression in the 
United States of America? How did systems deal with the mass exodus of people in Poland, 
the Czech Republic, Germany after the end of WWII in 1948; the fleeing masses in Hungary 
in 1956/58, the boat people of Vietnam in 1975? Or much earlier, the American 
Colonization Society and the establishment of the country of Liberia (1822-1827)? - just to 
name a few cases.

Concluding, we would like to ask the question if there are any parallels to the contemporary 
world? How are both, integration and repatriation of global refugee movements (e.g. from 
Africa and the Middle East) dealt with by the financial sector today (refugee integration 
loans, alternative financial arrangements for immigrants)? Who is in charge? Private 
financial institutions, states or supranational actors?  And which would be the lessons to be 
learned from history?

Please send your proposals to Carmen Hofmann (c.hofmann[at] including 
the following information:
- Title of paper 
- Name of speaker   
- Affiliation of speaker 
- Abstract (max 350 words)
- Short biography (max 75 words)

Selected speakers will be asked to:
- Submit a full paper 1 month prior the workshop
- Give a presentation of 15 - 20 minutes on 11 June 2020 in Athens


Deadline for paper proposals: 15.2.2020 

More info:


Η Δράση Αναβάθμιση και Ανανέωση του ιστοχώρου της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας Οικονομικής Ιστορίας χρηματοδοτείται από το Κοινωφελές Ίδρυμα Ιωάννη Σ. Λάτση, στο πλαίσιο του Προγράμματος Ενίσχυσης Επιστημονικών Εταιρειών 2016