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POL 02 — The Global Refugee Crisis: Challenges and Solutions

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jul 14—Aug 18
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 16
Unit: 1
Tuition: $360
Instructor(s): Admir Skodo, Robert Crews
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jul 14—Aug 18
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 16
1 Unit
Admir Skodo, Robert Crews
Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
There are more people in the world seeking refuge today than in any other period in history—71 million, to be more precise. Whether driven by war, human rights violations, climate change, ideological conflict, or economic necessity, forced migration takes center stage in political life. Although the vast majority of refugees are found outside of the West, most Western nation-states claim that they lack the capacity to admit large numbers, and as a result have introduced extremely harsh measures that often deprive refugees of their most basic rights.

This course introduces and critically examines some of the most pressing issues of the global refugee crisis. Using history to elucidate present politics, we will address why most countries have introduced harsh asylum laws and practices, the causes of key forced migration patterns, the politics of border control, how refugees manage to express agency, and the rise of climate change–induced migration. We will also introduce and discuss some alternative political solutions to these developments from a variety of actors on the local, national, and global levels.

By the end of this course, students will understand some of the driving forces that shape the lives of people seeking protection from various harms, be able to question dominant political narratives that seek to portray migrant flows as uncontrollable and refugees as a fundamental threat to Western societies, and learn about various proposed solutions, including decoupling human rights from citizenship, changing public opinion, engaging civil society, and changing the unequal political and economic dynamic between the West and the Global South.

Affiliated Researcher, Lund University

Admir Skodo is a historian of modern migration, Afghanistan, and European ideas, and has published widely on those topics. He has lectured at San Quentin Prison University Project. He has been an expert witness in immigration court. Skodo received a PhD from the European University Institute.

Professor of History, Stanford

Robert Crews has taught courses on the global drug wars, Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, Russia, and Islam. He is a former director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times, and he is editor-in-chief of the journal Afghanistan. He received a PhD in history from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Behrous Boochani, No Friend but the Mountains (ISBN 9781487006839)
(Recommended) Aristide Zolberg, Astri Suhrke et al, Escape from Violence: Conflict and the Refugee Crisis in the Developing World
(Recommended) Menjivar, Ruiz, Ness, Eds., Oxford Handbook of Migration Crises
(Recommended) Peter Gatrell, The Making of the Modern Refugee
(Recommended) De Haas, Castles, & Miller, The Age of Migration