The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives

  • Available for pre-order on January 27, 2023. Item will ship after February 17, 2023
ISBN 9780367674762
February 17, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
544 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This companion presents a transnational and interdisciplinary study of refugee narratives. In response to the oversaturation of sociological, governmental, and journalistic narratives about refugees, this book examines the narratives refugees tell to, for, and about themselves. Engaging a rich variety of genres—fiction, autobiography, prose, poetry, graphic novels, film, photography, performance, social media—the chapters included in this anthology examine how conditions of forced displacement and encounters with different asylum regimes shape the form and content of refugee cultural production. Chapters are organized around three key forms—storytelling, testimony, (auto)ethnography—and four key themes—memory (and forgetting), human rights (and its limitations), border-crossing (and nation-states), and cartographies (of displacement and diaspora). This volume will be of interest to researchers, teachers, students, and practitioners. In addition to analyzing refugee narratives, contributors offer pedagogical strategies for how to teach, discuss, and engage refugee narratives in the contemporary political moment.

Table of Contents

  1. Storytelling
  2. 1. Carrie Dawson, "Flights of Fancy: Imagination, Audacity, and Refugee Storytelling"

    2. B. Venkat Mani, "Theorizing Unsettlement: Refugee Narratives as Literary Ration Cards"

    3. Bishupal Limbu, "Refugee Narratives and Humanitarian Form"

    4. Asha Varadharajan, "Coming Undone: Displacement, Trauma and the Crisis of (Narrative) Agency"


  3. Genres and Conventions
  4. 5. Sydney Van To, "Refugee Noir"

    6. Agnes Woolley, "Re-orienting the Gaze: Visualizing Refugees in Recent Film"

    7. Lan Duong, "Song, Sound, and Refugee Affect in Life of a Flower and Song Lang"

    8. Asis De, "Refugees to Worker-migrants: Transformation of Cross-border Migration in Amitav Ghosh’s Novels"


  5. Visuality and Visibility
  6. 9. Anna Carastathis and Myrto Tsilimpounidi, "‘Through the Lens of a Refugee’: Disrupting Visual Narratives of Displacement"

    10. M. Eliatamby O’Brien, "Narrativizing Unarrival: Digital Autographics by Asylum Seekers in the Pacific"

    11. Zuzanna Olszewska, "If We Do Not Write Poetry, We Will Die: Afghan Diasporic Social Media Poetry for the Fall of Kabul"

    12. Roopika Risam, "Connecting the Dots: Refugee Data Narratives"


  7. Mediation and Positionality
  8. 13. Nina Mickwitz, "Up Close and Personal: Mediated Testimony and Narrative Tropes in Refugee Comics"

    14. Elif Sarı, "‘I am Myself’: Queer/Refugee Narratives"

    15. Julia Hope, "Applying RefugeeCrit to Recent Middle Grade/Young Adult Children’s Literature About Refugees"

    16. Erin Goheen Glanville, "Refugee Narrative Pedagogy: A Cultural Refugee Studies Approach"

  9. Border-crossing
  10. 17. Regina Marie Mills, "Border-crossing, Identity, and Voice in Central American and US-Central American Refugee Narratives"

    18. Charmaine A. Nelson, "The Canadian Fugitive Slave Archive: Contesting the Refugee Narrative"

    19. Aalene Mahum Aneeq, "To the Editor: Partition Refugee Relief and the Making of the ‘Pakistani Muslim Citizen’ in Punjab"

    20. Angela Naimou, "Iraq and the Work of the Frame"

  11. Health and (Dis)ability
  12. 21. April Shemak, "The Biopoetics of Health: Caribbean Refugee Narratives"

    22. Y-Dang Troeung, "Refugee Race-ability: Bodies, Lands, Worlds"

    23. Christiane Assefa, "‘Many Hands Lighten the Load’: Health Lessons from San Diego during the Time of COVID-19"

  13. Care and Kinship
  14. 24. Veronika Zablotsky, "Affecting Appeals: Armenian Refugee Narratives in the Archives of Early Humanitarian Discourse"

    25. Eun Ah Cho, "Fearless Faces: Motherhood and Gendered Mobility of North Korean Refugees in Jero Yun’s Films"

    26. Katherine Fobear, "Queer Refugee Homemaking: Lesbian and Gay Refugees’ Oral Histories and Photovoice Narratives of Home"

    27. Sunčica Klaas, "‘Little Knowledges’: Shifting Visions of Childhood, Care, and Technology in the Contemporary Novel of Forced Migration"

  15. Land/Water Ecologies
  16. 28. Marguerite Nguyen, "Refugee Ecologies: The Elements, Flora, and Fauna in Refugee Narratives"

    29. Himadri Chatterjee, "Writing, Belonging, Forgetting: Waterscapes in Bangla Dalit Refugee Literature"

    30. Eman Ghanayem, "Being Indigenous and Refugee: The Duality of Palestinian and American Indian Narratives"

  17. Spatiality and Cartographies
  18. 31. Marco Mogiani, "Alternative Spatial Imaginaries: Refugees’ Counter-Narratives of Settlement and Mobility in Patras"

    32. Aline Lo, "Letting Karst Mountains Bloom: Decentering the Secret War in Hmong American Literature and Art"

    33. Kieren Kresevic Salazar, "Islands of Writers: Tracing an Archipelagic Literature"

    34. Nathan Jung, "Spatial Empathy in Refugee Video Games"

  19. Temporality and Futurity

         35. Alenka Bartulović and Miha Kozorog, "Songs Against Boredom: Youth, Music, and Bosnian Exile"

         36. Emily Hue, "On Water, On Land: Sustainability of Refugee Lives in an Era of Ecological Crises"

         37. Olivia Quintanilla, "The Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Figure of Climate Refuge(e)s"

         38. Hadji Bakara, "Refugee Writing and the Problem of the Future"


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Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her PhD in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. Her writing has appeared in Critical Ethnic Studies, Amerasia Journal, Canadian Review of American Studies, and LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refuge Settlers in Guam and Israel-Palestine. She is the recipient of the 2017 American Studies Association Critical Ethnic Studies Prize and 2016 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship.

Vinh Nguyen is an Associate Professor of diasporic literature at Renison University College, University of Waterloo. He received his PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. His writing can be found in Social Text, MELUS, ARIEL, Canadian Literature, Life Writing, and Canadian Review of American Studies. His forthcoming co-edited book, Refugee States: Humanitarian Exceptionalism and Critical Refugee Studies in Canada, will be published by the University of Toronto Press. He is working on a book manuscript entitled Lived Refuge: Gratitude, Resentment, Resilience. He is the 2017 recipient of the John C. Polanyi Prize in Literature.