Call for articles and book reviews


Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees


Refuge accepts general submissions on an on-going basis. Authors must adhere to the submission guidelines, as outlined on the website. Manuscripts may be submitted either in English or French. All submissions must be made online, via the website:


The editors of the open-access journal Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, published by the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, invite submissions of book reviews in all fields of refugees’ studies, with a particular attention to the topics of complementary pathways to refugee protection and respectively, the educational attainment of Syrian refugee children. The book reviews are intended to supplement the themes of the upcoming issues.

Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees is a non-profit, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, bilingual journal. It publishes analytical, reflective, and probing articles from a wide range of disciplinary and regional perspectives, presenting writing of academics, policy-makers, and practitioners in the field of forced migration. The journal provides space for discussion of emerging themes and debates, as well as ongoing topics. The journal also features a book review section and occasionally publishes special issues on specific themes related to forced migration. An average of five reviews, each up to 1000 words, are published within every issue. Refuge publishes articles and book reviews in both English and French. Authors can submit a potential title of interest or alternatively, they can review a potential title from the attached list.

Deadline for submissions: March 15th 2020.

Reviewers are required to declare any possible conflicts of interest (i.e., the reviewer has a professional or personal relationship with an author or the author’s institution; the reviewer has a direct or indirect financial interest in the book being reviewed; etc.).

Issues 2019/2020

  • General Issue - Complementary pathways to refugees’ protection (Spring 2020)
  • Special Issue - Refugee status and educational attainment of Syrian refugee children: A comparative view from three continents and six countries (Fall 2020)

Please send expressions of interest to:
Raluca Bejan, PhD
Book Review Editor
Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees
Room 844, Centre for Refugee Studies
Kaneff Tower
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
Homepage Refuge:


Books for Review:

1) Crossing Law’s Border. Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program.

By Shauna Labman. University of British Columbia Press.

The UN Refugee Agency considers resettlement – the selection and transfer of refugees from the state where they seek asylum to another state – to be a tool of refugee protection and an expression of international burden sharing. Resettlement is voluntary and ad hoc, and Canada is one of three leading resettlement countries in the world.

In this account of Canada’s resettlement program from the Indochinese crisis of the 1970s to the Syrian crisis of the 2010s, Shauna Labman explores how rights, responsibilities, and obligations intersect in the absence of a legal scheme for refugee resettlement. She asks: How does law influence the voluntary act of resettlement, and how does resettlement affect asylum policy? She reveals that the core concept of refugee protection, non-refoulement, which prevents countries from turning away asylum-seekers, can be compromised by resettlement, both by the resettlement selection process and the influence of resettlement practices on in-country asylum.

This pathbreaking look at the interplay between resettlement and asylum in one of the world’s most successful refugee protection programs shows that resettlement can either complement or complicate in-country asylum claims at a time when refugee crises and fear of outsiders are causing countries to close their borders to asylum-seekers around the world.

This book will appeal not only to scholars in law, sociology, and refugee and migration studies but also to general readers and policy makers interested in refugees and resettlement programs.

Published: November 2019


2) Bertolt Brecht's Refugee Conversations. By: Bertolt Brecht. Editor: Tom Kuhn. Translator: Romy Fursland. Bloomsbury.

Published in English for the first time, Refugee Conversations is a delightful work that reveals Brecht as a master of comic satire. Written swiftly in the opening years of the Second World War, the dialogues have an urgent contemporary relevance to a Europe once again witnessing populations on the move.

The premise is simple: two refugees from Nazi Germany meet in a railway cafe and discuss the current state of the world. They are a bourgeois Jewish physicist and a left-leaning worker. Their world views, their voices and their social experience clash horribly, but they find they have unexpected common ground – especially in their more recent experience of the surreal twists and turns of life in exile, the bureaucracy, and the pathetic failings of the societies that are their unwilling hosts.

Their conversations are light and swift moving, the subjects under discussion extremely various: beer, cigars, the Germans' love of order, their education and experience of life, art, pornography, politics, 'great men', morality, seriousness, Switzerland, America ... despite the circumstances of both characters there is a wonderfully whimsical serendipity about their dialogue, the logic and the connections often delightfully absurd.

Published: October 2019


3) Refugees’ Roles in Resolving Displacement and Building Peace

Editors: Megan Bradley, James Milner, and Blair Peruniak. Georgetown University Press.

How are refugee crises solved? This has become an urgent question as global displacement rates continue to climb, and refugee situations now persist for years if not decades. The resolution of displacement and the conflicts that force refugees from their homes is often explained as a top-down process led and controlled by governments and international organizations. This book takes a different approach. Through contributions from scholars working in politics, anthropology, law, sociology and philosophy, and a wide range of case studies, it explores the diverse ways in which refugees themselves interpret, create and pursue solutions to their plight. It investigates the empirical and normative significance of refugees' engagement as agents in these processes, and their implications for research, policy and practice. This book speaks both to academic debates and to the broader community of peacebuilding, humanitarian and human rights scholars concerned with the nature and dynamics of agency in contentious political contexts, and identifies insights that can inform policy and practice.

Published: June 2019


4) The Ungrateful Refugee. Dina Nayeri. Canongate Books.

What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. To be a refugee is to grapple with your place in society, attempting to reconcile the life you have known with a new, unfamiliar home. All this while bearing the burden of gratitude in your host nation: the expectation that you should be forever thankful for the space you have been allowed.

Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials.

With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee recalibrates the conversation around the refugee experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to be forced to flee your home, and to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh.

Published: June 2019


5) Refugee Law and Durability of Protection. Temporary Residence and Cessation of Status, 1st Edition. By Maria O’Sullivan. Routledge.

This book examines the link between refugee protection, duration of risk and residency rights. It focuses on two main issues of importance to current state practice: the use of temporary forms of refugee status and residency and the legal criteria for cessation of refugee status under Article 1C(5) of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

In analysing this issue, this book canvasses debates which are pertinent to many other contentious areas of refugee law, including the relationship between the refugee definition and complementary protection, application of the Refugee Convention in situations of armed conflict, and the role of non-state bodies as actors of protection. It also illustrates some of the central problems with the way in which the 1951 Refugee Convention is implemented domestically in key asylum host states. The arguments put forward in this book have particular significance for the return of asylum seekers and refugees to situations of ongoing conflict and post-conflict situations and is therefore highly pertinent to the future development of international refugee law.

Published: May 2019


6) Europe and the Refugee Crisis. Local Responses to Migrants. By: Frances Trix. Bloomsbury.

Since 2014, more than 60 million people have been displaced from their homes across the Middle East and Africa. The European Refugee Crisis, as it has come to be known, is now the largest such crisis since the aftermath of World War II. How have local communities reacted to the influx of asylum seekers? And what can we learn from their responses?

Frances Trix here offers a wide-ranging ethnographical and anthropological study of local, individual responses to refugees, from Macedonia to Germany. Based on extensive interviews and field work in Europe, Trix focuses for the first time on the ways that refugees have been welcomed – or not, as the case may be – by various individuals and communities. Her work ranges from Macedonians who established an NGO and lobbied to allow the refugees to use the train, to the police charged with border management; from a German organic food store owner who by her actions set the positive tone in her village, a retired IT manager who coordinates refugee volunteers for his entire town, to the district work organisation director who deems refugees unsuitable for multiple reasons. The material is measured throughout against Trix's anthropological experience, as well as reference to the historical and political contexts in which events are unfolding. This book is essential reading for all those working on the refugee crisis and the prospects – both local and global – for the future.

Published: November 2018


7) Resettlement Challenges for Displaced Populations and Refugees. Editors: Asgary, Ali (Ed.). Springer, Switzerland.

The main focus of this book is to help better understand the multidimensionality and complexity of population displacement and the role that reconstruction and recovery knowledge and practice play in this regard. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the total number of people forcibly displaced due to wars and conflicts, disasters, and climate change worldwide, exceeded 66 million in 2016. Many of these displaced populations may never be able to go back and rebuild their houses, communities, and businesses.

This text brings together recovery and reconstruction professionals, researchers, and policy makers to examine how displaced populations can rebuild their lives in new locations and recover from disasters that have impacted their livelihoods, and communities. This book provides readers with an understanding of how disaster recovery and reconstruction knowledge and practice can contribute to the recovery and reconstruction of displaced and refugee populations. This book will appeal to students, researchers, and professionals working in the field.

Published: January 2019


8) The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft. Michelle Pace and Somdeep Sen. Routledge.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank explores the manner in which the Palestinian Authority’s performative acts affect and shape the lives and subjective identities of those in its vicinity in the occupied West Bank. The nature of Palestinians’ statelessness has to contend with the rituals of statecraft that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its Palestinian functionaries engage in. These rituals are also economically maintained by an international donor community and are vehemently challenged by Palestinian activists, antagonistic to the prevalence of the statist agenda in Palestine.

Conceptually, the understanding of the PA’s ‘theater of statecraft’ is inspired by Judith Butler’s conception of performativity as one that encompasses several repetitive and ritual performative acts. The authors explore what they refer to as the ‘fuzzy state' (personified in the form and conduct of the PA) looks like for those living it, from the vantage point of PA institutions, NGOs, international representative offices, and activists. Methodologically, the book adopts an ethnographic approach, by way of interviews and observations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank makes an important and long-due intervention by integrating performance studies and politics to suggest an understanding of the theatrics of woeful statecraft in Palestine. The book is an essential resource for students and scholars interested in the study of the state, International Relations and Politics, Palestine Studies, and the Middle East.

Published: January 2019


9) The Crux of Refugee Resettlement. Rebuilding Social Networks.

Edited by Andrew Nelson. Rowman & Littlefield.

While the world’s refugee population reaches record high numbers, countries offering third-country resettlement are increasingly shifting toward policies of exclusion and austerity. This edited volume envisions a more humane future for refugee resettlement. Combining anthropology with a variety of professional perspectives (education, health care, theology, administration, politics, and social work) ethnography is used to demonstrate the efficacy of programs and interventions that create and nurture social capital in culturally specific and accessible ways. The contributors present case studies of resettlement in the United States, England, Australia, and Canada and contend that social networks have an essential role—are the crux—in the reconfigurations of refugee well-being, belonging, and place-making vis-à-vis the bureaucratic limitations of state and institutional factors. This book includes short contributions from refugees, representatives of resettlement organizations, and government officials, including Jhuma N. Acharya, Bimala Bastola, Khada Bhandari, Kiri Hata, Govin Magar, Madhu Neupane, Natacha Nikokeza, Angela K. Plummer, Lance Rasbridge, Chris Sunderlin, David Thatcher, and John Tluang.

Published: December 2018


10) Aider les Acadiens ? Bienfaisance et deportation. Adeline Vasquez, Peter Lang.

Pourquoi accueillir des réfugiés en période de guerre ? Cette question si contemporaine s’est posée dès le XVIIIe siècle aux administrateurs britanniques des colonies d’Amérique du Nord. À travers un exemple concret de « bienfaisance » en faveur des habitants de l’ancienne colonie française d’Acadie, cet ouvrage montre qu’au-delà des conflits militaires, des idées communes sur l’entraide et la fraternité marquèrent déjà les rapports sociaux de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique. Connue sous l’expression « Grand Dérangement », la déportation des Acadiens de 1755 fait ici, pour la première fois, l’objet d’une analyse détaillée des rapports entre cette population déplacée de force et les diverses autorités qui furent chargées de l’accueillir.

Published: December 2018


11) Shatila Stories. Written by nine Syrian and Palestinian refugee writers. Translated from the Arabic by Nashwa Gowanlock. Peirene. **LONGLISTED FOR THE EBRD LITERATURE PRIZE 2019**

Most novels are written by professional writers using second hand material. Not this one. Peirene commissioned nine refugees to tell their ‘Shatila Stories’. The result is a piece of collaborative fiction unlike any other. If you want to understand the chaos of the Middle East – or you just want to follow the course of a beautiful love story – start here.

Adam and his family flee Syria and arrive at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Conditions in this overcrowded Palestinian camp are tough, and violence defines many of the relationships: a father fights to save his daughter, a gang leader plots to expand his influence, and drugs break up a family. Adam struggles to make sense of his refugee experience, but then he meets Shatha and starts to view the camp through her eyes.

Published: July 2018


12) The Land between Two Rivers. Writing in an Age of Refugees.

Tom Sleigh. Graywolf Press.

“In Sleigh’s hands . . . moments of ongoingness mix something of the daily with something of the miraculous. . . . Like [Walt] Whitman, Sleigh here plays with what the observer’s notebook can become. He embeds lines of poetry in journalistic essays like a rogue reporter; conversely, he’ll forge a sonnet or rhymed tercets out of reported language.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tom Sleigh describes himself donning flak jacket and helmet, working as a journalist inside militarized war zones and refugee camps, as “a sort of Rambo, Jr.” With self-deprecation and empathetic humor, these essays recount Sleigh’s experiences during several tours in Africa and in the Middle Eastern region once called Mesopotamia, “the land between two rivers.”     

Sleigh asks three central questions: What did I see? How could I write about it? Why did I write about it? The first essays focus on the lives of refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, and Iraq. Under the conditions of military occupation, famine, and war, their stories can be harrowing, even desperate, but they’re also laced with wily humor and an undeluded hopefulness, their lives having little to do with their depictions in mass media. The second part of this book explores how writing might be capable of honoring the texture of these individuals’ experiences while remaining faithful to political emotions, rather than political convictions. Sleigh examines the works of Anna Akhmatova, Mahmoud Darwish, Ashur Etwebi, David Jones, Tomas Tranströmer, and others as guiding spirits. Concluding with a beautiful remembrance of Sleigh’s friendship with Seamus Heaney, the final essays meditate on youth, restlessness, illness, and Sleigh’s motivations for writing his own experiences in order to move out into the world.

Published: June 2018


13) We Built the Wall. How the US Keeps Out Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central America and Beyond. By Eileen Truax. Translated by Diane Stockwell. Verso.

From a storefront law office in the US border city of El Paso, Texas, one man set out to tear down the great wall of indifference raised between the US and Mexico. Carlos Spector has filed hundreds of political asylum cases on behalf of human rights defenders, journalists, and political dissidents. Though his legal activism has only inched the process forward—98 percent of refugees from Mexico are still denied asylum—his myriad legal cases and the resultant media fallout has increasingly put US immigration policy, the corrupt state of Mexico, and the political basis of immigration, asylum, and deportation decisions on the spot.

We Built the Wall is an immersive, engrossing look at the new front in the immigration wars. It follows the gripping stories of people like Saúl Reyes, forced to flee his home after a drug cartel murdered several members of his family, and Delmy Calderón, a forty-two-year-old woman leading an eight-woman hunger strike in an El Paso detention center. Truax tracks the heart-wrenching trials of refugees like Yamil, the husband and father who chose a prison cell over deportation to Mexico, and Rocío Hernández, a nineteen-year-old who spent nearly her entire life in Texas and is now forced to live in a city where narcotraffickers operate with absolute impunity.

Published: June 2018


14) Educating Refugee-background Students. Critical Issues and Dynamic Contexts. Edited by: Shawna Shapiro, Raichle Farrelly, Mary Jane Curry. Multilingual Matters.

This collection of empirical work offers an in-depth exploration of key issues in the education of adolescents and adults with refugee backgrounds residing in North America, Australia and Europe. These studies foreground student goals, experiences and voices, and reflect a high degree of awareness of the assets that refugee-background students bring to schools and broader society. Chapters are clustered according to the two themes of Language and Literacy, and Access and Equity. Each chapter includes a discussion of context, researcher positionality and implications for educators, policy-makers and scholars.

Published: May 2018


15) Homes: A Refugee Story. Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung. Freehand Books.

**Finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction**

One boy’s true story, both heartbreaking and hopeful, of living through the Syrian civil war and immigrating to Canada.

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria — just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy — soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone — and found safety in Canada — with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.

Published: May 2018


16) Hara Hotel. A Tale of Syrian Refugees in Greece. Teresa Thornhill. Verso.

A first-hand account of a Greek refugee camp—and the stories of the refugees staying there.

Syrian Kurd Juwan Azad left his home and family in Damascus in 2011 to flee military service under the al-Assad regime. After several troubled years as a refugee in Turkey, he arrived in Greece by sea, on the route taken by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Syrians seeking a safe haven in Europe. But as borders closed across the Balkans in early 2016, Juwan and his fellow Syrians found themselves blocked from travelling any further.

Teresa Thornhill volunteered at Hara Hotel, a makeshift camp on the Greece–Macedonia border. An Arabic speaker, she met Syrians from all walks of life as she distributed clothing and organized activities for children. One of the Syrians was Juwan, who would later walk through the mountains of Macedonia to safety in Austria.

In Hara Hotel, Thornhill interweaves a narrative of daily life at the camp with Juwan’s extraordinary story, the recent history of the revolution in Syria, and an account of the ensuing civil war, painting a vivid picture of the predicament of Syrians trapped on Europe’s borders.

Published: April 2018



17) Deport, Deprive, Extradite. 21st Century State Extremism. By Nisha Kapoor. Verso.

In 2012 five Muslim men—Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, and Abu Hamza—were extradited from Britain to the US to face terrorism-related charges. Fahad Hashmi was deported a few years before. Abid Naseer and Haroon Aswat would follow shortly. They were subject to pre-trial incarceration for up to seventeen years, police brutality, secret trials, secret evidence, long-term detention in solitary confinement, citizenship deprivation and more. Deport, Deprive, Extradite draws on their stories as starting points to explore what they illuminate about the disciplinary features of state power and its securitising conditions.

In looking at these stories of Muslim men accused of terrorism-related offences, Nisha Kapoor exposes how these racialised subjects are dehumanised, made non-human, both in terms of how they are represented and via the disciplinary techniques used to expel them. She explores how these cases illuminate and enable intensifying authoritarianism and the diminishment of democratic systems.

Published: March 2018


18) Syrian Refugee Children in the Middle East and Europe: Integrating the Young and Exiled. Editors: Michelle Pace & Somdeep Sen. Routledge.

Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Syrian refugee children have withstood violence, uncertainty, fear, trauma and loss. This book follows their journeys by bringing together scholars and practitioners to reflect on how to make their situation better and to get this knowledge to as many front liners - across European and neighbouring countries in the Middle East - as possible.

The book is premised on the underlying conception of refugee children as not merely a vulnerable contingent of the displaced Syrian population, but one that possesses a certain agency for change and progress. In this vein, the various contributions aim to not just de-securitize the ‘conversation’ on migration that frequently centres on the presumed insecurity that refugees personify. They also de-securitize the figure and image of the refugee. Through the stories of the youngest and most vulnerable, they demonstrate that refugee children are not mere opaque figures on who we project our insecurities. Instead, they embody potentials and opportunities for progress that we need to nurture, as young refugees find themselves compelled to both negotiate the practical realities of a life in exile, and situate themselves in changing and unfamiliar sociocultural contexts. Drawing on extensive field research, this edited volume points in the direction of a new rights based framework which will safeguard the future of these children and their well-being.

Offering a comparative lens between approaches to tackling refugees in the Middle East and Europe, this book will appeal to students and scholars of refugees and migration studies, human rights, as well as anyone with an interest in the Middle East or Europe.

Published: April 2018