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Lecture | LIMS seminar

Birth of Statistics on International Migrations, 1850-1939

  • Philippe Rygiel (École normale supérieure de Lyon)
Wednesday 30 March 2022
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2021-2022
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)

LIMS talk with Philippe Rygiel (École normale supérieure de Lyon) entitled "Birth of Statistics on International Migrations, 1850-1939".

The first meeting of the International Congress of Statistics, held at in Brussels in 1853 sees migrations as one of the social problems that need to be measured. It’s the beginning of a long history that can be connected to the recent birth of a global data migration portal. Each step of the way the same questions arise: how to define migration, how to measure it, how to collect and aggregate information. In retracing this story, Rygiel reconstructs the shifting perceptions of migration within a growing international sphere and enriches our understanding of the successive attempts to define a global order of migration. The presentation focuses on the early stages of this historical sequence, from the mid-XIXth century to the mid-XXth century with special attention paid to the transformations affecting the definition of international migrants and migrations. 

Mass international migration has been defined -- in the western world since the mid-nineteenth century -- as one of the manifestations of modernity with important implications for states and the international community. The long-standing discussions on the possible modes of governance of international migration are accompanied by a production of knowledge. Transnational scientific organisations have aimed to produce statistical data describing this global phenomenon. 


The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics.

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