Century of the refugee: refugees & statelessness in the long twentieth century, c.1900-present (SS) HIST4250

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course investigates the history of refugees and statelessness in the 'long' twentieth century, from the late Ottoman refugee crises around 1900 to the present. Adopting a comparative approach, it addresses population displacement as a key process in modern global history, one which relates to nationalism, conflict, state formation, humanitarianism, and the development of international institutions.


2 x 90min sessions per week over 20 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

This course is a senior honours special subject in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in History

Excluded Courses

HIST4240 'The Scum of the Earth': Refugees and Statelessness in World History, c.1900-1951




Gobbet Examination (2-hour duration) - 30%

Time-limited assignment (2500 words) to be completed over a 4-day period in the final week of semester 2- 30%

2 x 1600-word portfolios (one per semester), consisting of four 400-word seminar tasks - 15% each

poster presentation (equivalent to c.1,500-word essay) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity for students to:

■ Gain a detailed knowledge and understanding of the history of refugees and statelessness throughout the twentieth century

■ Develop analytical skills, especially through learning to construct valid analytical comparisons across a range of different empirical cases

■ Develop a methodological awareness of the range of different approaches that different kinds of primary source require, and of the challenges posed to historians by the uneven production and archiving of sources

■ Consolidate a critical understanding of how historians frame a historical enquiry, present and support interpretations of past events, and advance historiographical debate

■ Consolidate primary research skills and develop a reflective understanding of their value in historical research and a wide range of other spheres

■ Consolidate and develop their skills in presenting complex information and arguments in a variety of written and other formats

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify key aspects of the role mass population displacement has played in modern global history, relating it to state formation, conflict, nationalism, and the development of international institutions

■ Make analytical comparisons across different cases of population displacement, and of responses to it by states, international organizations, and displaced persons themselves

■ Identify the methodological challenges implicit in the historical study of population displacement and evaluate the success or otherwise of historians' attempts to overcome them, especially in ways that recover the voices of the displaced

■ Critically summarize and contextualize a range of historiographical arguments, and use them to frame a productive research question and identify sources that could be used to pursue it

■ Independently locate relevant primary materials relating to the subject, assessing the reliability of their source

■ Present research and conclusions in a variety of forms, adapting to different registers (more or less formal) and formats (oral, textual, visual)

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.