Middle East Studies

Critical Migration and Refugee Studies Series – Yến Lê Espiritu

Monday, March 19 –
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Monday March 19, 4:00–5:30 p.m., Tuesday March 20, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

Yến Lê EspirituCRITICAL MIGRATION AND REFUGEE STUDIES SERIES: Yến Lê Espiritu "Feminist Refugee Epistemology: Reading Displacement in Vietnamese and Syrian Refugee Art"

Monday, March 19, 2018
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Petteruti Lounge, Stephen Robert '62 Center

Joining the fields of transnational feminist studies with critical refugee studies, this talk introduces the concept feminist refugee epistemology (FRE) to re-conceptualize war-based displacement as not only about social disorder and interruption but also about social reproduction and innovation. FRE does more than critique Western media representation of refugees; it underlines the refugees’ rich and complicated lives, the ways in which they enact their hopes, beliefs, and politics, even when they live militarized lives. Given the ubiquity of visual representation of refugee suffering in Western media, it examines how refugee artists—specifically Vietnamese and Syrian artists—have articulated, contested, challenged and reconfigured ways of knowing. Fusing the critical with the creative, it conceptualizes refugee artwork as a critical site of knowledge production and encourages further and deeper inquiry into refugee cultural production as an essential element in refugee studies.

Free and open to the public. Light reception and book sale to follow the lecture.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
10:00am - 11:30am
CSREA, Lippitt House, 96 Waterman Street
Kindly RSVP to csrea@brown.edu. 

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. Learn more >>