Colonialism and Mediterranean Study Europe
Professor of History, Portland State University
Over the past decade, pundits and diplomats alike have repeatedly proposed partition – and its twin, forcible population exchange – as “solutions” to what they depict as inveterate sectarian conflict across the Middle East. In this lecture, Laura Robson explores the twentieth century history of such ideas, suggesting that proposals for partition and population transfer originated not from humanitarian concern for victimized communities but as concrete strategies for European political and military intervention in the Middle East.
Laura Robson (PhD Yale, 2009) is an associate professor of modern Middle Eastern history at Portland State University. Her most recent book States of Separation: Transfer, Partition, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (University of California, 2017) explores the history of forced migration, population exchanges, and refugee resettlement in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine during the interwar period. She is also the author of Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine , editor of Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives, and co-editor of the forthcoming volume Partitions: A Transnational History of 20th Century Territorial