The idea behind Exile-as-Method is based on the premise that concrete exile experience has a critical impact on development of scientific thought. It builds up on the direction the exile studies evolved towards at the turn of 21st century pointing to the need of breaking up with the perception of exile as one-sided and static transfer of knowledge, treating it rather as a dynamic and formative process of knowledge production. Conceptualisation  of exile as scientific method is the next step in these developments. This project aims to create a tool with which the impact of exile experience on development of scientific thought in the past and curently can be analysed.

This project focuses on three historical periods. It is rooted in the legal history of the first part of 20th century. Its starting point are the intellectual trajectories of refugee scholars from Nazi Germany and Austria in the UK and the USA as well as Polish scholars in so called “West”  between 1945 and 1989. It focuses on the impact of exile on their legal thinking and shaping their understanding of the role of law in a state, and through their writing about law, on development of post-war European legal culture. But the project is also very much interested in contemporary conditions of knowledge production in exilic circumstances and invites scholars at risk to share their impressions.

Exile-as-Method is directed by Magdalena Kmak, Associate Professor in Minority Studies at Åbo Akademi University and a research fellow in ‘Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964‘ project.


Mitchell G. Ash and Alfons Söldner, eds., Forced Migration and Scientific Change; Émigré German-Speaking Scientists and Scholars after 1933 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Kader Konus, Jewish-German Philologists in Turkish Exile: Leo Spitzer and Erich Auerbach, in Exile and Otherness: New Approaches to the Experience of the Nazi Refugees (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2005)