Dr Irial Glynn awarded €2m ERC Consolidator Grant
31 January 2023
Dr Irial Glynn, Assistant Professor at UCD School of History, will receive 2m funding for his study entitled ‘SOS’. This project will investigate the history of boat refugees since the 1940s, asking who hinders and who helps asylum seekers on their journeys, and why.
In 2015, over one million refugees sailed across the Mediterranean, this was not the first time that people took to the seas in search of asylum. During the 1940s, Jewish boat refugees voyaged across the Mediterranean; in the 1970s and 1980s, Vietnamese boat people traversed the South China Sea; in the 1980s and 1990s, Cubans and Haitians tried to navigate the Caribbean to reach the US; and in the 1990s and 2000s, boat refugees sailed across the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Australia, Yemen, and Europe. Yet references to the past are almost non-existent in contemporary discussions.
Dr Glynn said: “Anyone following the news lately knows that the issue of boat refugees is an urgent topic. This ERC Consolidator grant will make it possible to compare the journeys, experiences and reception of boat refugees since the 1940s. The project will draw on oral and written testimonies of boat refugees to articulate their experience and to place them at the heart of the analysis. States still dominate histories of refugees. ‘SOS’ will challenge this by humanising the refugee journey and, in doing so, show how messy and complicated refugeehood was and still is.”
The study will address several key questions, for instance, how did ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sexuality and capital influence what took place? The team will interview refugees and officials, and examine archives and media coverage, to produce the first global history of boat refugees.
Professor Aisling Swaine, Professor of Gender Studies at UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice who also received €2 million in funding to lead ‘GENCOERCTRL’, a project examining gender, conflict and coercive control.
You can learn more about the 2022 ERC Consolidator grants and recipients here: https://erc.europa.eu/news-