Bennett Sherry joins us in Fall 2018 as a Visiting Lecturer. Bennett is a world historian specializing in refugees and forced migration. His research explores the role played by transnational refugee groups and human rights NGOs in the development of a global refugee system during the twentieth century. His teaching interests include commodities in world history, globalization, the history of human rights, and the modern Middle East.
Bennett’s current manuscript examines the role of a global network of Iranian refugee and human rights groups on the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey. In the span of a single year in the mid-1980s, the UNHCR office in Ankara expanded from a tiny three-person operation into the UNHCR’s largest office in Europe. The UNHCR’s expansion in Turkey was enabled and compelled by a global network of Iranian refugee groups working in concert with Amnesty International and other human rights NGOs. This project seeks to reveal the agency of refugees not only over their own lives but to change the shape of the global refugee system.
Bennett’s other research and teaching interests often correspond with the digital humanities. His courses incorporate digital elements into student projects and in the classroom. He is working with UNHCR refugee data to construct social network analysis representations of refugee migration. His research has been funded by the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University and the World History Center at Pitt, among others. In the Fall, Bennett will be teaching courses on World History and Human Rights.