An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies

Cowriters: Yến Lê Espiritu, Victor Bascara, Ma Vang, Khatharya Um, Lila Sharif and Nigel Hatton

Departures supports, contextualizes, and advances the field of critical refugee studies by providing a capacious account of its genealogy, methods, and key concepts as well as its premises, priorities, and possibilities. The book outlines the field’s main tenets, questions, and concerns and offers new approaches that integrate theoretical rigor and policy considerations with refugees’ rich and complicated lived worlds. It also provides examples of how to link communities, movements, networks, artists, and academic institutions and forge new and humane reciprocal paradigms, dialogues, visuals, and technologies that replace and reverse the dehumanization of refugees that occurs within imperialist gazes and frames, sensational stories, savior narratives, big data, colorful mapping, and spectator scholarship. This resource and guide is for all readers invested in addressing the concerns, perspectives, knowledge production, and global imaginings of refugees.

Published Date:

University of California Press


Departures works best as a critical manifesto ‘by and for refugees.’ Bold and provocative, it will not fail to spark conversations in the coming years.
Review of International American Studies

This book makes a compelling case for the need for new methods in attending to refugees, one of the most important subjects of our time. By centering refugees, the book offers an innovative and much-needed intervention in understanding the contexts, histories, creativity, and lifeworlds of refugees as subjects.
—Thy Phu, Distinguished Professor of Race, Diaspora, and Visual Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough

In flipping the script and ‘re-storying’ dominant narratives and visualizations, the authors make a compelling case for developing new analytics, new names, and new tools to grapple with refugee conditions, knowledge, and consciousness. This book is sure to be widely read and referenced.
—Susan Koshy, Director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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