Roundtable: Freedom and Unfreedom of Movement: Perspectives on Migration and Transformation

While for some the freedom to cross national borders seems natural and self-evident, for the vast majority of the world’s population the global migration regime appears as a form of unfreedom. We will examine the contested meanings of migration, its multiple forms as well as the complex entanglements of freedom and unfreedom in global migration from historical, anthropological, and activist perspectives. By highlighting new scholarship on migration in connection to social transformation, the roundtable will bring this knowledge to a broader audience.


Manuela Bojadzijev is a professor at the Institute for European Ethnology and the Berlin Institute for Migration Research (BIM) at Humboldt University Berlin. Manuela is researching globalized and digitised cultures. She is interested in contemporary transfomations of mobility and migration as well as of racism, in interplay with the current radical changes of work and life under conditions of digital technologies and logistification. Addressing these topics, she currently oversees five research projects (funded by the European research programmes H2020 and HERA, the Berlin University Alliance, as well as the Volkswagen Foundation and the German Research Foundation). Additionally she curates, together with the author Carolin Emcke, at Berlin’s House of World Cultures an online-archive on the history and presence of forced migration to Germany (funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin House of World Cultures).

Natalia Gebert is a cultural studies graduate and translator by profession. Co-founder of the Warsaw-based informal initiative Open House (now a foundation). Since 2015, she has been socially active on behalf of refugees and spreading knowledge about migration. In 2018, she received the Award of the Capital City of Warsaw for her social activity.

Jannis Panagiotidis is Scientific Director of RECET. From 2014 until 2020, he was Junior Professor for Migration and Integration of Germans from Russia at the Osnabrück University Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS). At RECET, he works on a project entitled “Liberal Global Orders and Freedom of Movement.” He also guides a research project on post-Soviet immigrant communities in Germany (as part of the research network “Ambivalenzen des Sowjetischen”, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation). His research interests include:  Migration History,  Transnational and Comparative History, German History Jewish and Israeli History, History of Central and Eastern Europe. He wrote the books: The Unchosen Ones. Diaspora, Nation, and Migration in Israel and Germany (Indiana UP, 2019) and Postsowjetische Migration in Deutschland: Eine Einführung (Beltz/Juventa).

Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu is a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Center of the History of Transformations (RECET) at the University of Vienna. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Practices of Togetherness: Jacek Kuroń, Pedagogy, Communities of Care, and Political Opposition in Poland (1955-1982). Her second book project is on the socialist entanglements between Poland and Vietnam after 1955. Linh is interested in the history of Poland, Vietnam, cultural history, decolonization, and global Cold War. Linh has published in scholarly (Cahiers du Monde Russe, History Workshop Journal, etc.) and non-scholarly outlets (TAZ, Zeitgeschichte-online, Krytyka Polityczna, etc.