Representing Migration

The routes of immigration and emigration form passages through which not only people change their location, but also the material and immaterial goods which they take with them, the symbols of their origins which manifest themselves in objects, artifacts, songs, monuments, newspapers and magazines, letters and photographs, in performative exclamations and orally transmitted memories.

Such representations of migration can freeze positive memories of that which is to be preserved or melancholic memories of an often dramatic migration experience, and can serve in the second generation as a projection surface for the imagination of a distant world.

The research focus "Representing Migration" describes the topic of migration and memory as a field of research that is to be approached in a processual, interdisciplinary manner, and that should be understood not so much through the construction of identities based on comparison with and distinction from others, but rather through the forms of representation and presentation as well as the presentation strategies of migrants and those in exile.

Alongside the representations of migration through material and immaterial means, the artistic and literary reflection on immigration and its consequences is of particular significance. Visual art, theater and literature, as fictional or semi-documentary strategies, are in a position to provide a counterbalance to the official discourse on migration.

A further emphasis of the research focus at the CAS is placed on imperial and post-imperial migration from the late Habsburg Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, one important example being the migrants from the pluri-national Habsburg Monarchy to the Americas between 1876 and 1914.


Research Focus Group

Visiting Fellows

Prof. Elizabeth Otto, Ph.D.

Previous Visiting Fellow

Art History

João Fábio Bertonha, Ph.D.

Previous Visiting Fellow


Dr. Isa Blumi

Previous Visiting Fellow


  • Art at CAS – "Expedition Medora X"
    (Winter Semester 2015/16)
  • International Workshop – "Promised Lands: Israel-Diaspora Relations and Beyond"
    (Summer Semester 2016)
  • Panel Discussion – "Kulturen schaffen? Migration und ihr Einfluss auf Kulturinstitutionen"
    (Summer Semester 2016)
  • International Conference – "Passages of Exile"
    (Winter Semester 2016/17)
  • Lecture Series in the Winter Semester 2016/17 – "Passagen / Passages"
  • International Conference – "Looking for the National Dream. Austro-Hungarian Migrants in the Americas in Comparative Perspectives"
    (Summer Semester 2017)
  • International Conference – "Legacies of Post-Imperial Migrations from World War I to the Cold War"
    (Winter Semester 2017/18)
  • Conference – "Leave, Left, Left. Migrationsphänomene in den Künsten"
    (Summer Semester 2018)
  • International Conference – "Stuck in Migration. Waiting Zones and Internment Camps"
    (Summer Semester 2018)