Transit is the spatio-temporal state of being stuck while passing through. The characteristic in-betweenness that transit entails shapes how people perceive and know their everyday lives and the larger world. Focusing on transit to understand migrant knowledge means exploring the consequences that migrant experiences of suspended time, provisional spaces, and ambiguous status have for individual and societal knowledge-making. Objects of research include the material culture of refugee camps, the multidestinational trajectories of transnational lives, and the multilayered experiences of living simultaneously in the past and future while having to cope with the present. Also relevant is the common phenomenon that actors only know in hindsight that what they had once experienced as perfectly normal was in fact a transitional phase of their life.

Bunk beds on display at the Angel Island Immigration Station, San Francisco. Photograph courtesy of Samid Suliman.


Lässig, Simone. “Strategies and Mechanisms of Scholar Rescue: The Intellectual Migration of the 1930s Reconsidered.” Social Research: An International Quarterly 84, no. 4 (Winter 2017/18): 769–808.

Lässig, Simone, and Swen Steinberg, eds. “Knowledge and Migration.” Special issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 43, no. 3 (2017): 309–491.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Knowledge on the Move: New Approaches toward a History of Migrant Knowledge,” in Geschichte und Gesellschaft 43, no. 3 (2017): 1–34.

Steinberg, Swen, and Anthony Grenville, eds. “Refugees from Nazi-Occupied Europe to British Overseas Territories after 1933.” Special issue, Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies 20 (2020).

‐‐‐‐‐. “Forgotten Destinations: Refugees from Nazi-Occupied Europe to British Overseas Territories after 1933,” in Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies 20 (2020): 1–18.

Steinberg, Swen. Knowledge Between the Local and the Global: German Mine Model Collections in North American Mining Schools, in Material Cultures of Mining, ed. Michael Farrenkopf and Stefan Siemer (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021), 73-91.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Das Verhältnis von Mensch und Tier in Publikationen politischer Flüchtlinge in der Tschechoslowakei (1933–1938)” Exilforschung: Ein internationales Jahrbuch / Exile Studies: An International Yearbook 39 (2021): 113–32.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Knowledge from Five Continents: Escape Destinations in Publications of German-speaking Political Refugees, 1933-40,” in Cultural Translation and Knowledge Transfer on Alternative Routes of Escape from Nazi Terror: Mediations through Exile, ed. Susanne Korbel and Philipp Strobl (London: Routledge, 2021), 49-65.

‐‐‐‐‐. “An der Schwelle: Die sozialdemokratische Flüchtlingszeitung ‘Neuer Vorwärts’ in Paris und der Ausbruch des Krieges 1939,” Krieg und Literatur / War and Literature: International Yearbook on War and Anti-War Literature 26 (2020): 147-70.

‐‐‐‐‐.”Der Blick von unten: Lokale und regionale Partei- und Gewerkschaftsfunktionäre im Exil der Tschechoslowakei,” in Zeitdiagnose im Exil: Zur Deutung des Nationalsozialismus nach 1933, ed. Rüdiger Hachtmann, Franka Maubach, and Markus Roth (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2020), 37-61.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Regional Functionaries, Political Networks, and the German-Czechoslovakian Borderlands in 1933,” in Somewhere Between Home and Arrival: Preliminary Stage of Exile, edited by R. Andress. Amsterdam: Brill, 2020.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Grenz-Netzwerke, Grenz-Arbeit, Grenz-Exil: Der deutsch-tschechoslo­wakische Grenzraum als politischer Ort, 1920-1938.” In Grenze als Erfahrung und Diskurs, edited by Hermann Gätje and Sikander Singh, 175–92. Tübingen: Rank, 2018.

‐‐‐‐‐. “Kochen im Kollektiv: Selbstorganisation und Verpflegung in tschechoslo­wa­kischen Flüchtlingsheimen (1933-1938).” In Küche der Erinnerung—Essen und Exil, edited by Veronika Zwerger and Ursula Seeber, 128-147. Vienna: New Academic Press, 2018.


“Archives of Global Transit: Reconsidering Jewish Refugees from Nazi-Europe.” Online workshop in the GHI series In Global Transit,” October 2021, organized by Simone Lässig, Swen Steinberg, Anna-Carolin Augustin, Carolin Liebisch,

“Mixed Loyalties? German Minorities between Nationalism, Solidarity, and Fascism (1920s-40s).” Online conference panel, German Studies Association, September 30–October 3, 2021, organized by Swen Steinberg and Kasper Brasken.

“Provocation and Challenge: Populism and Neo-Fascism from a Transatlantic Perspective.” Panel series hosted by the German Embassy in Canada, together with Carleton University’s Center for European Studies and Department of History, Fall 2021, organized by Swen Steinberg, Jennifer Evans, and David Y. Clement.

“Longing, Belonging, and Exclusion in a Global World: Refugees in Past and Present.” Virtual roundtable at Queen’s University, October 20, 2020, organized by Swen Steinberg and Werner Nell.

“Outside In: New York, Networks, and Refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe.” Panel at the Annual Conference of the German Studies Association in Portland, OR, October 3–6, 2019, organized by Swen Steinberg and Helga Schreckenberger.

“In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s–1960s).” Conference at GHI PRO and The MAGNES Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley, May 20–22, 2019.

“In Global Transit: Jewish Migrants from Hitler’s Europe in Asia, Africa, and Beyond.” Conference at Loreto College, Kolkata, February 14-18, 2018.

“Emigration from Nazi-Occupied Europe to British Overseas Territories after 1933.” Triennial International Conference of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the University of London, September 13–15, 2017, in London, organized by Tony Grenville (Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the University of London) and Swen Steinberg (University of Dresden)

“Migration and Knowledge.” Panel Series at the 40th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association in San Diego, September 29 – October 2, 2016.

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