6 Nov 2009 - 7 Nov 2009 All day CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge



Vera Skvirskaya (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)
Caroline Humphrey (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)
Yael Navaro-Yashin (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)  

Conference summary

This international workshop will explore current inter-communal dynamics and historical transformations in key cities along the shores of the Black Sea.  Our special emphasis will be the impact of specific state practices, critical events and migration  on the population structures and living practices in these cities. We are inviting papers which address the experiences of communities who have migrated out of these cities due to specific state policies addressed to (and against) them, as well as on various streams of migrants who have moved in different periods. We are especially interested in papers which would study modes of relationality between outgoing and incoming communities of exiles and migrants. We are also inviting papers which would study the material inscriptions of communities who have departed from the cities, their heritage sites, and the tangible objects and properties they have left behind. More broadly, we aim to create a space to think about diasporic movements in, out, and through Black Sea cities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on contemporary relations with the past. In this context we expect to investigate emerging and contrasting diasporic imaginaries and forms of migrant subjectivity. The conference will also incorporate papers which consider “the Black Sea” as a region of cross-maritime political, economic, and social relations.

The workshop is organised by the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. It will be the concluding workshop of a 3-year research project “Black Sea Currents: Migration and cosmopolitan dynamics in two post-Imperial cities, Odessa and Istanbul”, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council programme “Diaspora, Migration and Identities”. The Black Sea Currents project has sought to compare the changing cosmopolitan dynamics and migration flows of Odessa, Ukraine and Istanbul, Turkey, focusing on old and new diasporic subjectivities and the specific nature of connection and disconnection in the region.  Both cities were represented as “cosmopolitan” in their Russian/Soviet and Ottoman contexts and, in recent years, have been largely bleached of their formerly diverse populations, to be replaced mainly by Slavs and a few commercial migrants and refugees in Odessa, and Anatolian, Kurdish and post-Soviet migrants in Istanbul. We are inviting workshop participants to move beyond our initial interest in Imperial urban cosmopolitanism and its aftermath in the two cities to consider diverse migrant flows as well as a wide range of connections across the Black Sea. 

We plan to produce an edited volume of papers presented at the workshop.

Administrative help: Samuel Mather (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk