Events, History & Classics, Human Rights, Politics & Law, PotW
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#PoTW: Placeless people: writing, rights and refugees


The political philosopher and refugee Hannah Arendt, wrote in 1944  that: ‘Everywhere the word “exile” which once had an undertone of almost sacred awe, now provokes the idea of something simultaneously suspicious and unfortunate.’

This John Coffin* memorial lecture discusses how writers such as Arendt, George Orwell, Simone Weil, Dorothy Thompson, and Samuel Beckett responded to the mass displacements of the last century, and anticipated many of the issues we are confronting today.

Sceptical about the ability of human rights to legislate for refugees, yet committed to universal justice, they challenge us to imagine new terms for ‘placelessness’.

Placeless people: writing, rights and refugees is hosted by  Diamond Ashiagbor, professor of law and director of research at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and chaired by Professor Phillipe Sands, QC at Matrix Chambers. The speaker,  Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, is a writer and broadcaster whose current work for Refugee Hosts uses poetry, photography, and oral history to understand how non-nation state political sovereignties are taking shape today.

When: 22 May 2018, 5.30–7.30pm
Who: Institute of Advanced Legal Sudies
Where: 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

This event is free but advance booking is required. A reception follows.

Book now


More information
Arthur Charles Coffin, a former external student of the University of London, left his residual estate of £27,000 to the university in memory of his father John, a journeyman blacksmith from Dorchester.

The bequest was established to provide ‘grants as suitable occasion should arise’ for lectures on ‘Christian ethics, ‘recent research of historical, literary or scientific interest’, ‘a chamber concert or recital by an ensemble or instrumentalist’, and ‘literary readings of prose or poetry’ (NB: which may be in languages other than English).

In recent years annual lectures were added to the Coffin cycle in the history of ideas, the history of the book, palaeography, and Irish studies, and a rota governing institute involvement per subject area was instituted through 2007–14.



Image: © SZERVÁC Attila, Wikimedia Commons

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