UCHRI Residential Research Group Individual Fellowship (Spring 2016)

Towards Critical Refugee Studies: Being and Becoming in Exceptional States of War, Violence and Militarism

The University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) invites individual applications from faculty, post-docs and graduate students across the disciplines interested in contributing to the Spring 2016 Residential Research Group Fellowship on “Critical Refugees Studies”. Please see the research abstract included below for more information.

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Who Can Apply: UC Faculty, UC Post-Docs, UC Graduate Students (must be ABD) and non-UC faculty.
Level of Award: Varies upon academic positions
Funding Source: UCHRI
Deadline: April 8, 2015 (11:59 pm PST). Apply online via FastApps (opens on February 4, 2015).
Group Residency Quarter: Spring 2016
Funding Decision: It is expected that awards will be announced in late April 2015. Final awards are contingent upon available funding.


Convened by Professors Lan Duong, Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside and Yen Le Espiritu, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

How refugees have been discursively constructed in U.S. national culture serves as a point of entry and departure for this RRG, as it will intervene in and restage the recurrent conversations about the state of being stateless in both mainstream and academic discourses. The group will come together to further delineate the contours of Critical Refugee Studies, an emergent field of study that is situated at the intersections between the humanities and social sciences. We invite applications from scholars across the disciplines who seek to think through a new paradigm for the study of refugees, one that reconfigures refugees as “central political figures” not only in the “national order of things” but also within contemporary discourses about war and militarism. We chart the field of Critical Refugee Studies as an interdisciplinary field that re-conceptualizes the refugee not as an object of rescue but as a site of social and political critiques, whose emergence when traced, would make visible the processes of colonization, war, and displacement.

Studying displaced populations from a variety of geopolitical perspectives, we seek to develop alternative frames of analysis for a vital inquiry into the historical and political dimensions of refugeehood. As objects of inquiry, refugees have been the subject of volumes of study in the fields of sociology, political science, and literature, coming into being in this kind of scholarship as in-between figures that symbolize victimization, resistance, or postmodern interstitiality. Critical Refugee Studies must be premised, first and foremost, on a broad understanding of the reach of empire in the definition and management of refugees in the past and present moment. Our collaborative research, as we envision it, will pivot on a critique of the unique braiding of militarism and imperialism that underlies forced migrations on a global scale. Furthermore, we seek to contextualize the violent conditions, and the racialized nature of these conditions, which impel refugee migrations. We will query the formation of refugee subjectivities as they have been (re)produced in various sites (in the diaspora, the homeland,and the camps) and affectively registered through various media (literature, film, photography, art). While we delve into the larger narratives of the national the the geopolitical, a significant part of our focus will coalesce around the lived experiences of refugees whose (post)memories have been profoundly shaped by their home countries, host countries as well as at the different centers and camps through which they have been “processed.” To decenter the monolithic notion of camp as (only) “bare life,” we want to bring to life the details of the banal and the spectacular of camp life to delineate the ways refugees intimately negotiate with the complexities of camp experiences and the sense of suspension that mark their lives under militarist rule.


Residential research groups (RRGs) are at the heart of the UC Humanities Research Institute activities, convening key scholars to work in collaboration on interdisciplinary topics of special significance. UCHRI promotes new scholarship in the humanities by fostering collaborative inquiry outside institutional and disciplinary structures. RRGs consist of teams of researchers, often unknown to each other before residency, assembled to work on a commonly-defined research agenda. They are composed of a range of UC faculty, UC postdoctoral scholars, UC doctoral students, and non-UC faculty as resources allow.

The RRG is open to individuals across the UC system interested in participating in this particular topic. Individual RRG fellows are selected based on their ability to contribute to the research agenda of the group.

Collaboration may take many forms. In communicating across disciplines, there are challenges of language, terminology, and methodology for all RRGs. The organizing premise of the residential research program is that when those challenges are surmounted, breakthroughs in knowledge are possible.

Expected outcomes of an RRG include edited or co-edited volumes, key word texts, multimedia websites, significant extramural proposals, substantial curriculum plans, or other such significant projects arising from research pursued at UCHRI.

UCHRI provides replacement costs to the faculty division. Faculty contributions of sabbatical credits may be required, in combination with other resources. Acceptance of the fellowship means that fellows would be in residence for the entire quarter. UCHRI’s facilities for participating scholars include on-site offices, meeting rooms, a multi-media room, and a reference library. Furnished apartments are provided to fellows by the Institute for use on an as-needed basis during their residencies, resources permitting.


Applications from prospective participants are accepted exclusively online via UCHRI’s FastApps system.

Required documents include:

  • Biographical Summary (150 words max.)
  • Proposal Abstract (150 words max.)
  • Proposal Narrative (2000 words max). Please explain research aims for the residence and explain how they relate to the collective proposal.
  • Curriculum Vitae of the applicant. (2 pages max.)

For program related questions, please contact Suedine Nakano, Program Officer at snakano@hri.uci.edu.

For technical assistance with FastApps, contact techsupport@hri.uci.edu.

Please include the name of the program for which you need assistance.