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A panel discussion with author Dr Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Queen’s Law School) and discussant Professor Matthew J Gibney (University of Oxford), moderated by Professor Cathryn Costello (Hertie School). The event is hosted by the Centre for Fundamental Rights in collaboration with the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.

Time: 5-6pm UK / 6-7pm CEST

The Ethics of Exile, coverAbout the book: Exiles have long been transformative actors in their homelands: they foment revolution, sustain dissent, and work to create renewed political institutions and identities back home. Ongoing waves of migration ensure that they will continue to play these vital roles. Rather than focus on what exiles mean for the countries they enter - a perspective that often treats them as passive victims - The Ethics of Exile recognises their political and moral agency, and explores their rich and vital relationship to the communities they have left. It offers a rare view of the other side of the migration story.

Engaging with a series of case studies, this book identifies the responsibilities and rights exiles have and the important roles they play in homeland politics. It argues that exile politics performs two functions: it can correct defective political institutions back home, and it can counter asymmetries of voice and power abroad. In short, exiles can act both as a linchpin and a buffer between political communities in crisis and the international actors who seek to, variously, aid and exploit them. When we think about the duties we owe to those forced to leave their homes, we should consider how to enable rather than thwart these roles.

This event is part of the Spotlight on Scholarship event series hosted by the Centre for Fundamental Rights.

The Ethics of Exile: A political theory of diaspora can be ordered from the Oxford University Press website. We invite you to enjoy a 30% discount by using the code ASFLYQ6.


Prior registration is required. Registered attendees will receive the login details via e-mail prior to the event.  Please register here.

About the speakers

Ashwini Vasanthakumar is an Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy at Queen’s Law School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard, a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford, where she studied as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar. 

Matthew J Gibney is Professor of Politics and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. He is also Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. He has written widely on the political and ethical issues raised by refugees, citizenship, and migration control.


Cathryn Costello is Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights. She is a leading scholar of international and European refugee and migration law and also explores the relationship between migration and labour law in her work. She is also Professor II at the University of Oslo and is on special leave from her previous post as Professor of Refugee and Migration Law at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

University of Sanctuary Fair, Part 1: University of Oxford as a University of Sanctuary

Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 2pm to 6pm @ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB

Humanitarian extractivism: the digital transformation past, present, future

Wednesday, 08 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Film screening and discussion: Missing in Brooks County

Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 5pm to 7pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Forced Migration on Film: A Conversation with Marc Isaacs | Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture 2024

Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 5pm to 6.30pm @ Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS

Book launch: The Politics of Crisis-Making: Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Skilled worker visas for refugees – a qualitative evaluation of the UK’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot

Wednesday, 05 June 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB