Summer 2023 - IS 355 D100

Refugees and Forced Migration (4)

Class Number: 3777

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines ideas and practices that affect experiences of forced migration and responses to these situations. What does it mean to live as a refugee? And what needs to change to alleviate the hardships and suffering of so many displaced people? Students who have taken IS 329 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


This course engages with ideas, rules and practices that shape the experience of forced migration--and our responses thereto.  What does living as a refugee mean ?  How is this status perceived by states and societies?  With over 100m displaced people today, what needs to change to alleviate their hardship and suffering?  How does gender impact displacement, as well as host responses to displaced women and girls?

We begin with a overview of the evolving global status of refugees within the modern context of migration.  This will take us to the root causes of forced migration—economic, political and social—including the emergence of climate change as a major driver of displacement.  The foundation for the international response was set by the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees (and the 1967 Protocol thereto), fostering a legal-political regime that prevails to this day.  We will examine its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the actual experience of individuals and communities seeking asylum — and mindful of the regime of international human rights/humanitarian law today.      


  • Class Presentation 20%
  • Participation 10%
  • Review Paper 30%
  • Final Exam 40%



The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.  Fiddian-Qasmiyyeh, Loescher, Long & Sigona, ed. Oxford, 2016
ISBN: 9780198778509


Loescher, G. Refugees: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, 2021

Hathaway, J. The Rights of Refugees Under International Law. 2nd Ed. Cambridge, 2021

Parekh, S. No Refuge: Ethics and the Global Refugee Crisis. Oxford, 2020

Spohnholz, J. Ruptured Lives: Refugee Crises in Historical Perspective. Oxford, 2021

Mohsin Hamid. Exit West. Riverhead, 2017

Additional readings will be posted on Canvas


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


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Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.