Refugee Representations: 1950s Non-Western/WWII Refugees in American Media with Smaller Circulation


This paper explores refugee representations in the 1950s of non-western/World War II in American media, specifically “smaller circulation” media. I define local newspapers, academic studies, and governmental documents as “smaller circulation” because their readership was not as diverse or as large as mass media publications; they were read by people of a town (often small), those in federal governmental, legal positions, and academics. Therefore, this paper will discuss the results of these findings and suggest how the non-western/WWII refugees' condition was interpreted in this smaller circulation, how this contrasted a large contemporary and importantly local refugee movement and finally, a suggestion of the implications. My findings suggest that during the 1950s, smaller circulation American print publications discussed non-western/WWII refugees in a political and pragmatic manner, and linked refugees to a particular cause (such as Communism) or nationality, and on the whole did not prioritize them: ironically, this is even in light of the World Refugee Year from 1959-1960, discussed by Gatrell. Publications generally depicted refugees without pictures or art or statistics, but instead depended on written descriptions.

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