Refugee Protection Outside of the International Legal Framework: Expanding Cross-National and Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations

The workshop is funded though the NSF Law and Social Sciences program and will cover the costs of participation for those invited to attend. 

May 27-28, Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Center for International & Comparative Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

80% of the world’s refugees seek asylum in non-democratic states, or states that have not signed the 1951 International Convention for the Protection of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, do not have implementing legislation or, if they do, do not grant refugees rights as defined by the Refugee Convention. The Center for Forced Migration Studies at Northwestern University invites submissions for a two-day workshop designed to promote cross-disciplinary discussion and engage researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the theoretical and practical issues, the lessons to be learned and the strategies for achieving protection in these states, about which we know far too little.  The workshop seeks to build community and was intentionally designed in collaboration with the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, the Refugee Research Network, the Asian Pacific Refugee Rights Network and the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network. We seek to expand and broaden our knowledge community to advance theorizing about the meanings, rules or laws governing refugee status outside of the Refugee Convention framework, address empirical puzzles regarding how refugees and international refugee advocacy networks mobilize international and national law, and identify promising lines of inquiry regarding how national institutions define, mediate and respond to refugee legal concerns. These impacts are central both to theory-building concerning legal mobilization and decision making by institutions and to understanding where and how a refugee status determination process structures refugee lives.

As refugee crises increase in duration and frequency, there is growing reluctance by states, party to the Refugee Convention, to be held to the letter or spirit of the Convention. The dialogue advanced at the workshop will assist in mapping the future of protection outside strict Refugee Convention parameters and inform efforts to provide alternative statuses and processes of protection to refugees who are unable to access national asylum status. The workshop seeks to further future research collaborations to answer questions about the behavior, treatment of people and processes of refugee status determination and protection in these contexts and the methodology through which we might measure outcomes and understand how the decision not to ratify the Refugee Convention affects refugee protection and local integration. Having such knowledge will contribute to United States’ efforts, as well as those of other states, the UNHCR and other UN agencies and international organizations, to provide sustainable solutions for refugees, victims of armed conflict or natural disaster, and stateless people around the world.

The workshop seeks to draw not only established experts, but also new scholars, graduate students and voices of underrepresented regions and groups. We invite submissions from any discipline, methodology, or a combination of them, that address the workshop themes listed below, including, but not limited to:

–          Historical Legacies of Refugee Reception (papers that address how countries such as the United States received refugees prior to the passage of national legislation).

–          Alternative Legacies: The Experience of Partition and National Understandings of Refugees (papers that address the decision of countries at the time of the adoption of the 1951 Refugee Convention and/or 1967 Protocol not to become party to the Convention. What rationales did these decisions follow and how did these decisions relate to the experience of displaced populations at the time)

–          Formal Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Processes (papers that address, but are not limited to, the RSD process in transition/emerging systems such as Israel, Korea and Kenya; complementary forms of refugee protection such as temporary protected status; judicial decisions based systems in non-party states such as that in India)

–          Quasi-Legal Non-State Mechanisms and Informal RSD Processes (papers that address community based concepts of protection or hospitality, common law principles of non-refoulement; local instruments, agents and institutions that provide refugee protection in the absence of formal law; refugee survival strategies that become “quasi legal”)

–          Methods of Studying Socio-Legal Processes of Refugee Status in Local Contexts (papers that offer new methodological approaches to how we might understanding the costs and benefits of implementing an RSD process for the state and/or for the refugee seeking protection; methodological approaches to understanding the refugee experience of RSD in non-party states)


Northwestern University, Evanston, IL/USA


The workshop will have plenary sessions and working group sessions with lead participants/rapporteurs designed to promote an inclusive and interdisciplinary dialogue. A final session will allow for a “report back” of rapporteurs, recommendations and conclusions.


Galya Ruffer, Center for Forced Migration Studies & Dept. of Political Science, Northwestern University

Bruce Spencer, Department of Statistics, Northwestern University


James Simeon (York University), Jessica Therkelsen (Asylum Access & Vice-Chair of the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network), Brian Barbour (Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network), David Cantor (Refugee Law Initiative), Roni Amit (African Centre for Migration and Society) and Danesh Jayatilaka (Final year PhD student University of Colombo/University of Sussex)


Please submit abstracts for papers or requests to serve as a lead participant by email to Abstracts should include a title, your contact details (name, affiliation, mailing address, email) and description of your workshop paper (250-400 words) or qualifications for serving as a lead participant/rapporteur.


Deadline for abstract submission: April 1st, 2014

Notification of Acceptance: April 15th, 2014

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Call for papers: The Borders of Crimmigration, 9-10 October 2014

October 9-10, 2014, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands
After the great success of the first annual CINETS conference held in Coimbra, Portugal in 2012, researchers, graduate students and practitioners working in the field of crime (control) and migration (control) are invited to participate in the 2nd Crimmigration Control Conference. This two-day conference will be held at Leiden University, the Netherlands on the 9th and 10th of October 2014.

Theme: The Borders of CrimmigrationLOGO2
The theme for this second annual conference is “The Borders of Crimmigration”. Globalization has led to a far-reaching transformation of the relationship between states which is particularly evident in the way that territorial borders are managed, negotiated and imagined. As the relationships between states shift and the boundaries between national and international become increasingly blurred, scholars and practitioners have come to realize that the changes in the nature and the meaning of borders require greater translation and interaction between various disciplines such as criminology, sociology, law, anthropology, political sciences and international relations. In this second CINETS conference we aim to bring together scholars and practitioners from these various disciplines in order to contribute to the discussion on– actual or imaginary, legal or social, internal or external – borders as a key concept in crimmigration studies.

Besides raising questions on discussing immigration policies concerning crimmigration in relation to borders and border control, this conference aims to address questions on the extent and differences in the policies implemented to penalize aggressors in crimes involving immigrants. Moreover, papers on the social phenomena to which these policies are responses are also welcomed. In doing so, this conference will not only focus on abstract theoretical notions that have been claimed to explain the crimmigration trend, but also on the practical implications and (un)intended consequences of crimmigration in the field of law enforcement.

Call for proposals
The Program Committee invites proposals that engage with the program theme and other topics related to crimmigration research.This includes for example theoretical papers, case studies, empirical evaluation and methodological work. Proposals for individual papers or fully formed panels will be considered. The proposals must meet to following criteria:

  • Abstracts must be written in the conference’s official language: English.
  • Submissions should report original still unpublished work.
  • The deadline for submission is December 31st, 2013.
  • Abstracts can be emailed to:

For more information on CINETS and the official call, go to:

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APSA 2014 (Washington DC) call for papers

Migration&Citizenship welcomes paper and panel proposals utilizing a wide range of methodological strategies and theoretical perspectives on topics such as: the politics of nationality and citizenship, including comparative or historical nationality law, statelessness, naturalization and expatriation as well as dual or multiple citizenship; the relationship between citizenship and sovereignty, including state formation or disintegration, nationalism, secession, minorities, diasporas, and multilevel citizenship; the relationship between citizenship and identity, gender, multiculturalism, race and ethnicity, racism and xenophobia, human rights, indigenous peoples, empires and imperialism, civic engagement, transnationality, welfare, and public policy; the local, national, transnational, international, and global politics of voluntary and forced migration, including political attitudes and orientations both towards and of all categories of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and economic, family, circular, business, high-skilled, and irregular migrants; immigration and emigration policies and laws, including their international relations, international political economy, and political philosophy aspects; border, security, and migration control studies; immigrant integration and refugee resettlement policies and their implementation, including immigrant and refugee civic engagement, political incorporation, and citizen-making.

We particularly welcome paper and panel submissions that address the conference theme of Politics after the Digital Revolution.

Because of a change to the allocation formula, the M&C Section’s acceptance rate this year should be roughly equal to the average acceptance rate for all Sections (unlike last year when the acceptance rate was much lower than the average), but the actual number of panels allocated to the section this year (and in future years) depends very much on the number of submissions we receive this year. So please consider submitting your proposal(s) through Migration & Citizenship.

You may submit up to 2 papers or 2 organized panel proposals. The application deadline is December 15.

See for more info:

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Leiden Law Blog

CRN-members from Leiden University regularly post on issues of citizenship and migration on Leiden Law Blog. Leiden Law Blog is part of the Leiden Law School, Leiden University. The authors are legal experts or criminologists working at our faculty. The Leiden Law Blog stands out by reacting to the latest news while at the same time touching on the research being performed within our faculty.

Some interesting recent posts are:

Joanne van der Leun on Mediterranean Migrant tragediesMigrant-specific policies and The criminalization of irregular residence

– Maartje van der Woude on Ethnic profiling and selectivity

Tim Dekkers on Fake and fantasy passports

Jelmer Brouwer on Linking migration to development and The criminalization of irregular migration

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Call for papers

Anthropological journal Etnofoor is seeking submissions for a special issue on borders. The deadline for an abstract of no more than 150 words is December 15. The deadline for authors of accepted abstracts to submit their full paper for consideration is February 28, 2014.

For more info:

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Online restart

Dear CRN-members,

It has been quiet on our online network: the latest blog post is from November 2012 and the latest activity (i.e. a tweet) is exactly one year ago today. Given all the interesting research that is going on within our CRN, it is a shame to exchange that only once a year. So, time for an online restart!

For now the blog will still be the center of our online activity, so make sure to regularly check If you have anything you would like to post, you can send it to Feel free to share whatever you want, an online community can only work by the grace of its active members. In the future we want to make use of a system where everyone can post directly to the blog, but this will take some time.

In the context of a modernization drive (which is less radical and scary than it sounds) there will be more emphasis on social media. We will make active use of our twitter-account to tweet anything that might be of interest to CRN-members, so follow us @CRNCitizMigr.

A LinkedIn-group is created to exchange jobs, calls for papers, publications and other interesting content. Join the group here and invite others that might be interested: Linkedin CRN Citizenship & Migration.

If you have any questions, remarks or – especially – content, contact Jelmer Brouwer at

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New Book: Disenchanting Citizenship

Central to contemporary debates in the United States on migration and migrant policy is the idea of citizenship, and this issue remains a focal point of contention. In Disenchanting Citizenship, Luis F. B. Plascencia examines two interrelated issues: U.S. citizenship and the Mexican migrants’ position in the United States.
The book explores the meaning of U.S. citizenship through the experience of a unique group of Mexican migrants who were granted Temporary Status under the “legalization” provisions of the 1986 IRCA, attained Lawful Permanent Residency, and later became U.S. citizens. Plascencia integrates an extensive and multifaceted collection of interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, ethno-historical research, and public policy analysis in examining efforts that promote the acquisition of citizenship, the teaching of citizenship classes, and naturalization ceremonies.
He argues that the acquisition of citizenship can lead to disenchantment with the very status desired. In the end, Plascencia expands our understanding of the dynamics of U.S. citizenship as a form of membership and belonging. 
For more information on the book and how to order it, click here
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