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RSC Public Seminar Series, Trinity term 2023

Series convened by Dr Uttara Shahani

About the seminar

Palestinians have long held a peculiar positionality within the global refugee regime. Served by a specialised UN body, namely the Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), they are the most protracted refugee population in the world and the only group excluded from UNHCR's mandate. As a result, Palestinian refugee politics - and particularly political resistance - has often been situated at the intersection of nationalism and internationalism. This talk, based on the forthcoming book Refuge and Resistance (Columbia University Press, 2023), will trace the history and politics of UNRWA’s interactions with Palestinian communities, particularly in the refugee camps where it functioned as a surrogate state. The book shows how Palestinian refugees invoked internationalist norms to demand their political rights while resisting the UN’s categorization of their plight as an apolitical humanitarian issue. In the process, we see how refugees must be understood as agents in shaping the global refugee regime, and not simply recipients of its services.

About the speaker

Anne Irfan is Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Race, Gender and Postcolonial Studies at University College London (UCL). She is a historian whose work examines the lasting impact of colonialism on modern displacements. She is the author of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System (available now from Columbia University Press). 

Download the flyer for Anne's book

Flyer for the book Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System, by Anne Irfan. $35.00 / £30.00 paperback · 978-0-231-20285-5$140.00 / £117.00 hardcover · 978-0-231-20284-8$34.99 / £30.00 ebook · 978-0-231-55474-9Published July 2023. 328 pagesColumbia Studies in International and Global HistoryOrder online now and save 30%cup.columbia.eduEnter Code: CUP30 for 30% discountRegular shipping and handling charges apply

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

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

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.

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

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

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA