Refugee States: Critical Refugee Studies in Canada
Exploring "refuge" and "refugee" as concepts that shape Canadian nation-building both within and beyond national borders, Refugee States takes an interdisciplinary and critical approach to describing how refugees articulate their relation to and defiance of official discourses. Through close examinations of refugee movements, contexts, and subjectivities, this collection reveals how Canada has relied upon the rejection and inclusion of refugees as a crucial means of statecraft.
Bringing together renowned and emerging scholars from multiple disciplines, Nguyen and Phu illuminate the historical, political, and cultural conditions that produce refugees as well as the narrative of humanitarian benevolence that persists nationally and internationally. Highlighting landmark cases, the editors and contributors together develop critical refugee studies as a framework for understanding, nuancing, and critiquing the production of Canadian humanitarian exceptionalism – the international image and discourse of Canada as a liberal, tolerant, and welcoming haven for people fleeing oppression, persecution, and unfreedom. In doing so, Refugee States offers alternative modes of understanding past and present refugee passages to and within Canada, and brings to light the many ways in which refugee subjects navigate displacement, migration, and resettlement.
- Series: Cultural Spaces
- World Rights
- Page Count: 256 pages
- Illustrations: 2
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
"Refugee States makes the bold and unusual move of placing the figure of the refugee at the heart of a renewed vision of nation, multiculturalism, and humanitarianism. The collection's engaging and informative essays trace the interplay of the exceptional and the ordinary in the negotiation of identity, refuge and community."
Asha Varadharajan, Associate Professor of English, Queen’s University
"Providing a trenchant critique of Canadian ‘humanitarian exceptionalism,’ this superb collection discloses the complex relations between nation-building and the modern notions of the refugee and of sites of refuge. It deftly traverses the wider debates in critical refugee studies and opens fresh avenues for research. Refugee States will be an indispensable resource for teaching and for scholars of refugee and other migrations, in Canada and beyond."
Radhika Mongia, Associate Professor of Sociology, York University
"Refugee States offers a welcome recalibration and significant reorientation of critical refugee studies as increasingly urgent interdiscipline and capacious critique. The diversity of nuanced approaches embedded in the essays that comprise this impressive volume productively lay bare the failure of state-specific humanitarianism and provocatively highlight the limitations of human rights regimes. In so doing, Refugee States offers a new way of seeing the hemispheric state and contemporaneous stakes of critical refugee studies."
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Professor of English and Asian American Studies and President-Elect of the American Studies Association, University of Texas at Austin
Author InformationVinh Nguyen is an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo.
Thy Phu is a professor in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Table of contents
Critical Refugee Studies in Canada: An Introduction
Part One: Historicization
1. Shifting Grounds of Asylum in Canadian Public Discourse and Policy
Johanna Reynolds and Jennifer Hyndman
2. Untangling the Strands of Memory: Historicizing the 1914 Komagata Maru Incident and the Concept of Refugeeness
3. Erasing Exclusion: Adrienne Clarkson and the Promise of the Refugee Experience
4. Petitions and Protest: Refugees and the Haunting of Canadian Citizenship
Part Two: Conjunctions
5. Where Are We From?: Decolonizing Indigenous and Refugee Relations
Jennifer Adese and Malissa Phung
6. Queer and Trans Migrants, Colonial Logics, and the Politics of Refusal
Edward Ou Jin Lee
7. Producing the Figure of the “Super Refugee” through Discourses of Success, Exceptionalism, Ableism, and Inspiration
8. Cross-Racial Refugee Fiction: Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For
Epilogue: The Exceptional and the Ordinary
Subjects and Courses