The CIH working group had its monthly meeting yesterday and was treated to a fascinating lecture provided by University of Calgary PhD Candidate Chris Hyland, on his current work in the area of emigre Canadian professors. Hyland looks at Academic history in Canada and his lecture spotlighted the experiences of Samuel Mack Eastwood, a Canadian born scholar who had to flee Germany during the interwar period.
The lecture highlighted some important considerations when doing this type of research. Eastwood's experience reminds us that refugee experiences are more than just the experiences of one individual - their whole family is more often than not detrimentally impacted by the events which cause one to flee a country. Participants in the discussion were also reminded of the importance of contextualization when looking at the circumstances of scholars who suffered through these events. Eastwood served in the army in the First World War and as a foreign diplomat afterwards, on top of his years as a professor in Canada. His political views were shaped by these events and he was outspoken about his socialist thoughts while a professor in British Columbia.
Further discussion is needed on the topic of forced migration due to political leanings. Similarily Russian academics have been on the margins of this discussion thus far. It would be interesting to determine how prevalent the viewpoints of either pacifism and communism are among the academics who fled or were acting as refugees.