Research Seminar with Yến Lê Espiritu, "Critical Refugee Studies: The Critical and the Creative"

photo of Yến Lê Espiritu

CSREA, 96 Waterman Street, Providence RI 02912

The hyper-focus on refugee suffering, desperation, and neediness in media and social science scholarship have represented refugees as passive recipients of western generosity and increasingly as the targets of racial profiling, surveillance, and detention. This seminar invites participants to chart new approaches to refugee studies that integrate theoretical rigor and policy concerns with refugees' rich and complicated lived worlds–approaches that fuse the critical and the creative.


Yến Lê Espiritu is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She has published extensively on Asian American identities and politics, gender and migration, and U.S. colonialism and wars in Asia. Her most current book, "Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es)" (UC Press, 2014) charts an interdisciplinary field of critical refugee study, which reconceptualizes “the refugee” not as an object of rescue but as a site of social and political critiques. In 2015, she received the UCSD Academic Senate Faculty Research Lecturer Award.

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Series Information

The Critical Migration and Refugee Studies Series dynamically considers the crucial issues of racial, ethnicity and migration in the contexts of displacement. A CSREA Faculty Grant Event organized by Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies. This series is supported by the Middle East Studies Program, the U.S. Latino Studies Fund, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Africana Studies.