Asylum in Britain and the Legacies of Colonialism


Migration, Borders, Diaspora - Lecture 1

Lecturer: Dr Lucy Mayblin

Nov. 9, 2021


Despite being located far from any current conflict zones, and hosting a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees, Great Britain is generally hostile to people who are seeking asylum. We make it very difficult for people who are seeking asylum to arrive in Britain, and if they do manage to make it here were make both their lives, and their chances of being successful in their asylum application, difficult. This session will explain who asylum seekers and refugees are, where refugee rights came from, and how we can understand current hostility to people seeking asylum when we situate the contemporary moment in the context of colonial histories.

Reading

  • Abuya, E.O. Krause, U. Mayblin, L. (2021) The neglected colonial legacy of the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Migration, https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12898 [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Chimni, B.S. (1998) The Geopolitics of Refugee Studies: A View from the South, Journal of Refugee Studies, 11(4):350–374, https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/11.4.350-a [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Davies, T. Isakjee, A. Mayblin, L. Turner, J. (2021) Channel Crossings: Offshoring Asylum and the Afterlife of Empire in the Dover Strait, Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2021.1925320 [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Mayblin, L. (2017) Asylum After Empire: Colonial Histories in the Politics of Asylum Seeking, London: Rowman and Littlefield International [BOOK -NOT OPEN ACCESS].
  • Mayblin, L. (2019) Impoverishment and Asylum: Social Policy as Slow Violence, London: Routledge [BOOK -NOT OPEN ACCESS].

Resources

Questions for discussion

  1. How much did you know about refugees before watching the video?
  2. What do you think the dominant representations are of refugees in Britain?
  3. How can colonial histories help us to understand the response of the British state to people seeking asylum today?
  4. In what ways is the treatment of people asylum connected to other injustices? Can you think of some examples and try to articulate the connections?

Despite being located far from any current conflict zones, and hosting a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees, Great Britain is generally hostile to people who are seeking asylum. We make it very difficult for people who are seeking asylum to arrive in Britain, and if they do manage to make it here were make both their lives, and their chances of being successful in their asylum application, difficult.

This session will explain who asylum seekers and refugees are, where refugee rights came from, and how we can understand current hostility to people seeking asylum when we situate the contemporary moment in the context of colonial histories.

Reading

  • Abuya, E.O. Krause, U. Mayblin, L. (2021) The neglected colonial legacy of the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Migration, https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12898 [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Chimni, B.S. (1998) The Geopolitics of Refugee Studies: A View from the South, Journal of Refugee Studies, 11(4):350–374, https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/11.4.350-a [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Davies, T. Isakjee, A. Mayblin, L. Turner, J. (2021) Channel Crossings: Offshoring Asylum and the Afterlife of Empire in the Dover Strait, Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2021.1925320 [OPEN ACCESS].
  • Mayblin, L. (2017) Asylum After Empire: Colonial Histories in the Politics of Asylum Seeking, London: Rowman and Littlefield International [BOOK -NOT OPEN ACCESS].
  • Mayblin, L. (2019) Impoverishment and Asylum: Social Policy as Slow Violence, London: Routledge [BOOK -NOT OPEN ACCESS].

Resources

Questions for discussion

  1. How much did you know about refugees before watching the video?
  2. What do you think the dominant representations are of refugees in Britain?
  3. How can colonial histories help us to understand the response of the British state to people seeking asylum today?
  4. In what ways is the treatment of people asylum connected to other injustices? Can you think of some examples and try to articulate the connections?