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About the lecture

What explains state responses to the refugees they receive? Discrimination and Delegation identifies two puzzling patterns: states open their borders to some refugee groups while blocking others (discrimination), and a number of countries have given the UN control of asylum procedures and refugee camps on their territory (delegation). To explain this selective exercise of sovereignty, the book develops a two-part theoretical framework in which policymakers in refugee-receiving countries weigh international and domestic concerns. Internationally, leaders use refugees in order to reassure allies and exert pressure on rivals. Domestically, policymakers have incentives to favor those refugee groups with whom they share an ethnic identity. When these international and domestic incentives conflict, shifting responsibility to the UN allows policymakers to placate both refugee-sending countries and domestic constituencies. The book then carries out a “three-stage, multi-level” research design in which each successive step corroborates and elaborates the findings of the preceding stage. The first stage involves statistical analysis of asylum admissions worldwide. The second stage presents two country case studies: Egypt (a country that is broadly representative of most refugee recipients) and Turkey (an outlier that has limited the geographic application of the Refugee Convention). The third stage zooms in on sub- or within-country dynamics in Kenya (home to one of the largest refugee populations in the world) through content analysis of parliamentary proceedings. Studying state responses to refugees is instructive because it can help explain why states sometimes assert, and at other times cede, their sovereignty in the face of refugee rights.

About the speaker

Lamis E. Abdelaaty is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton University.

Her research deals with refugees in international relations. Her first book, Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021), was awarded the Best Book Prize from the Migration and Citizenship section of the American Political Science Association, and the Distinguished Book Prize from the Ethnicity, Nationalism, & Migration Studies section of the International Studies Association. Previously, she received the Migration and Citizenship section’s Best Dissertation Award and was named an Emerging Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity.

Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Her articles have appeared in American Political Science ReviewAnnual Review of Sociology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and other journals. She has also written for general readers in The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage.

She is an associate editor at the Journal of Refugee Studies and a host of the political science podcast channel of the New Books Network, among other service roles.

Video

Watch the lecture video on YouTube.

All enquiries should be directed to rsc-outreach@qeh.ox.ac.uk.

Download the lecture poster.

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