Transfer and Partition in the Middle East

Episode 389

Download the podcast
Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud

In the wake of the First World War, the League of Nations oversaw internationally-recognized projects of separation and transfer as the new borders of the Middle East were drawn under the influence of British and French imperial rule. In this episode, we speak to Laura Robson about her research for the book States of Separation, which studied how imperial rule under the mandate system in Iraq, Palestine, and Syria shaped communal definition and relations. In our conversation, we focus on the ways in which the states of the period sought to manage and move minority populations through a scheme to resettle Iraq's Assyrians in South America and other policies of the mandate period.  

Stream via SoundCloud 

Contributor Bios

Laura Robson is a professor of history at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, currently focusing on histories of forced migration, the construction of refugee and asylum policies, and mass violence in the colonial and postcolonial Middle East. Her most recent books are States of Separation: Transfer, Partition, and the Making of the Middle East (University of California, 2017) and the forthcoming edited volume Partitions: A Transnational History of 20th Century Territorial Separatism (with Arie Dubnov; Stanford, 2019).
Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s.


Episode No. 389
Release Date: 31 October 2018
Recording Location: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Music: Special thanks to karagüneş
Bibliography courtesy of Laura Robson

Select Bibliography

Renee Hirschon, Crossing the Aegean: an appraisal of the 1923 compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey (New York, 2004)

Ben White, The Making of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria (Edinburgh, 2011)

Eric Weitz, "From the Vienna to the Paris System: International Politics and the Entangled Histories of Human Rights, Forced Deportations, and Civilizing Missions," AHR (2008)

Leila Fawaz, A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War (Cambridge, Ma., 2014)

Daniel Cohen, "The Politics of Recognition: Jewish Refugees in Relief Policies and Human Rights Debates, 1945-1950," Immigrants and Minorities (2006)

Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State (London, 2005)


Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.