Rowman and Littlefield International
Refugees Now

Refugees Now

Rethinking Borders, Hospitality, and Citizenship

Edited by Kelly Oliver, Lisa M. Madura, and Sabeen Ahmed

Publication Date: Apr 2019

Pages 330


Hardback 9781786611628
£90.00 €126.00 $135.00
Paperback 9781786611635
£29.95 €41.95 $44.95
Ebook 9781786611642
£29.95 €41.95 $43.00

This important new book examines the status of refugees from a philosophical perspective. The contributors explore the conditions faced by refugees and clarify the conceptual, practical, and ethical issues confronting the contemporary global community with respect to refugees. The book takes up topics ranging from practical matters, such as the social and political production of refugees, refugee status and the tension between citizen rights and human rights, and the handling of detention and deportation, to more conceptual and theoretical concerns, such as the ideology, rhetoric, and propaganda that sustain systems of exclusion and expulsion, to the ethical dimensions that invoke hospitality and transnational responsibility. Ideal for students and scholars in Political and Social Philosophy and Migration Studies more broadly, the book provides a critical commentary on material responses to contemporary refugee crises as a means of opening pathways to more pointed assessments of both the political and ideological underpinnings of statelessness.


Sabeen Ahmed and Lisa Madura


Part I: Humanitarianism and Human Rights

1. Refugees and the Politics of Indignity
David Owen

2. Refugees and the Right to Politics
Nöelle McAfee

3. Humanitarian Melancholia: Humanitarianism and the Need for Morality of Thinking
Mladjo Ivanovic

Part II: Hospitality, Care, and Responsibility

4. Hospitality and the Political Economy of Care
Lisa Madura

5. Welcoming Refugees: Mindful Citizenship and the Political Responsibility of Hospitality
Jade Schiff

6. On the Limits of Hospitality: Arendt and Balibar on a Universal Right to Politics
Peg Birmingham

Part III: Refugee Detention and Exclusion Today

7. Abolish Refugee Detention: Rethinking International Law and Carceral Humanitarianism
Kelly Oliver

8. Beyond the Ethics of Admission: Statelessness, Refugee Camps, and Moral Obligations
Serena Parekh

9. Critiquing Agamben’s Refugee: The Ontological Decolonization of Homo Sacer
Sabeen Ahmed

Part IV: Experiences of Immigration

10. Political Refugees and Economic Migrants: A Distinction Without a Difference?
Chong Choe-Smith

11. The Rights of Immigrants and the Duties of Nations: On Cesar Chavez, Transnational Justice, and the Temporality of Rights
Eduardo Mendieta

12. The Origin that Never Was: The Loss of Heimat and New Beginnings
Gertrude Postl

13. Strangers to Ourselves: Contemporary Horizons
Julia Kristeva, translated by Lisa Walsh

Part V: Listening to Refugee Voices

14. I Am Not Your Canvas: Narratives, Nostalgia, and the (Re)claiming of Refugee Voices
Anna Gotlib

15. How to be a Refug(e)e for a Stranger?
Esther Huftless and Elisabeth Schaefer

16. Echotext. Between Here and There. A Meteoric Meditation: In Response to “How to be a Refuge(e) for a Stranger?”
Eva-Maria Aigner



Far from being a demographic problem, the so-called refugee crisis is a moral and even more political challenge to the foundational values and principles of the international community – from dignity to hospitality, from human rights to humanitarian reason. This is what this beautifully constructed polyphonic opus convincingly demonstrates, making it an urgent reading for anyone concerned by the tragic fate of exiles in the contemporary world.

Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study

Kelly Oliver is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of thirteen scholarly books, ten anthologies, and over 100 articles, including work on campus rape, reproductive technologies, women and the media, film noir, and Alfred Hitchcock. Her work has been translated into seven languages, and she has been published in The New York Times.

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