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Lena Jur

PhD Candidate

  • Doctoral Project

    Children of Decolonisation – Adoptions of coloured children in the United Kingdom, ca. 1948-1980 (working title)

    Even in the present, Britain’s imperial past influences her public as well as political sphere. The Windrush scandal and wider public debates on a “caribritish identity” take on another meaning in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the political upheaval surrounding Brexit. Some of those who are caught up in this context share an adoptive past.

    My PhD project analyses the adoption of (“coloured”) children from formerly colonized or dominion territories after the Second World War in the United Kingdom. By using the history of adoption during decolonisation as a lens, I aim to identify and analyse the negotiations of different aspects of British nationalities in this period. Adoption and its related processes have the ability to profoundly interfere with the most private realms of human cohabitation – the family. This, thus, positions the history of adoption right at the interface of the private and the public sphere, offering an ideal background to look at the public as well as the private perception of the (decolonising) British Empire.

    By looking at the experiences of adopted children with a familial background in the Commonwealth or the former Empire, I want to introduce a sociohistorical perspective onto the history of childhood and adoption. Within the field of adoption – and especially within the field of transcultural adoptions –categories such as race, class and gender but also age and domesticity (to name just a few) play a vital role, which makes the topic of adoptions a universally fruitful research subject. By using these categories, my project aims to link imperial history to that of the history of childhood during the process of decolonisation.

  • Curriculum Vitae

    Professional and Education
    2021- Research Associate in the Department of Modern History, University of Marburg
    2018-2019 Research Assistant in the Department of Modern History, University of Marburg
    2018- Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Modern History, University of Marburg
    2017-2018 Research Associate in the Department of Modern History, University of Marburg
    2017 Federal State Examination for Teaching Degree (Erstes Staatsexamen) in History and English
    2015-2016 Student Assistant at Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg
    Scholarships and Awards
    2020- Doctoral Scholarship from the Hans Böckler Foundation
    2019 DAAD Short-term Scholarship for a Research Trip 
  • Publications and Presentations


    "Where do they belong? - Adoption of mixed-race children in late 1950s and early 1960s Britain". Genealogy 2022, 6(3), 71; (Special Issue "Mixed Marriages in Europe and Beyond: 1945 to Brexit"; online: .

    Historikertag 2021: Europäische Geschichte, in: H-Soz-Kult, 08.01.2022, <>.

    Conference Report: HT 2021: Kinder in prekären Verhältnissen. Deutungskämpfe um Zugehörigkeit und Identität nach 1945, In: H-Soz-Kult, 30.10.2021, <>.

    Conference Report: Zugänge zu einer Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte der Adoption, 28.11.2019 – 29.11.2019 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 06.02.2020, <>.

    Conference Report: Geschlecht.Macht.Staat, 14.11.2019 – 15.11.2019 Marburg (Lahn), in: H-Soz-Kult, 29.02.2020, <>.


    03/2023 Presentation «‘I’m sure he will be grateful to you later for sacrificing your own feelings to let himhave a good life with a father.’ Adoptions of non-white children in the UnitedKingdom, ca. 1948-1985»
    Conference "Compassion and Care. Emotions and Experience in the Care of Children through History", Manchester.

    11/2022 Presentation «On 'Special Offer' in the Child Supermarket? - Adoptionen von nicht-weißen Kindern im Großbritannien der Nachkriegszeit»
    Kolloquium am Lehrstuhl für Geschichte des 19. bis 21. Jahrhunderts (Gabriele Lingelbach), Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

    11/2021 Round Table Discussion with Geertje Mak and Susanne Quitmann: Three case studies on (post)colonial child separation
    Workshop and Expert Seminar “Children at the intersection of humanitarian action and (post)colonial politics”, Florence (online)

    09/2021 Presentation «Children of Decolonisation – Adoptions of coloured children in the United Kingdom (1950s-60s)»
    Conference "Transnational Families and Childhood in Modern History", Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

    05/2021 Presentation «Kinder der Dekolonisation. Adoption im Großbritannien der 1950er-70er Jahre»
    9. Junior-Workshop des «Arbeitskreises Großbritannien-Forschung», Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (online)

    06/2021 Presentation «Children of Decolonisation – Adoptions of coloured children in the United Kingdom, ca. 1948-1980»
    nternational Workshop: Eighty Years of “The Lion and the Unicorn” – Society and Identity in Great Britain since World War II, Universität Konstanz, Universität Mannheim und University of Cambridge (online)

  • Courses Taught

    Summer Semester 2023 "Family Matters" - Familiengeschichte im Britischen Empire (20. Jahrhundert), Philipps-Universität Marburg
    Winter Semester 2018/19 Britische Dekolonisation im 20. Jahrhundert – Formen und Folgen (Proseminar), Philipps-Universität Marburg, with Stephen Foose