The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Vinh Nguyen and Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi

The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives, currently under contract with Routledge, presents a transnational and interdisciplinary study of refugee narratives. In response to the oversaturation of sociological, governmental, and journalistic narratives about refugees, this anthology features academic essays that examine the narratives refugees tell to, for, and about themselves. Engaging a rich variety of genres—fiction, autobiography, prose, poetry, graphic novels, film, photography, performance, social media—the chapters will analyze how conditions of forced displacement and encounters with different asylum regimes shape, but do not circumscribe, the form and content of refugee cultural productions. Chapters will tentatively be organized around three key forms—storytelling, testimony, (auto)ethnography—and four key themes—memory (and forgetting), human rights (and its limitations), border-crossing (and nation-states), and cartographies (of displacement and diaspora).

This handbook aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the range and overarching concerns of refugee narratives. We are seeking chapters that speak to wider issues and problematics, as opposed to an analysis of a single work. We envision chapters that discuss multiple texts, drawing out the themes that thread through or may resonate with different historical, national, and social contexts. This anthology will be of interest to researchers, teachers, students, and practitioners. As such, we encourage contributors to also touch on pedagogical issues that surround the teaching and reception of these narratives.

This handbook conceives of narrative broadly and encompasses a range of critical approaches, methodologies, and genres. We are particularly interested in chapters that address one or more of the following:

  • ●  Narratives that trouble the category or definition of “refugee,” including its intersections with migrancy, Indigeneity, exile, and citizenship

  • ●  Intersections between refugee flight and Black fugitivity

  • ●  Feminist and queer theory analyses of gender and sexuality

  • ●  Engagements with ecocriticism, posthumanism, food studies, and/or critical theory

  • ●  Questions of health, disability, and embodiment as they pertain to refugee migration

  • ●  Struggles with, and organizing against, detention, deportation, forced repatriation, and


  • ●  The role of religion in refugee narratives

  • ●  The role of memory and forgetting in refugee narratives

  • ●  Histories of empire, colonialism, postcolonialism, settler colonialism, and/or slavery

  • ●  Refugee migrations within the Global South, including South-South trajectories

  • ●  Narrative representations of boat refugees, particularly in and around the Mediterranean


  • ●  Historical and contemporary refugee migrations from and through East and South Asia,

    including but not limited to Tibetian, Rohingya, Kashmiri, and Pakistani refugees

  • ●  Historical and contemporary refugee migrations from and through the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, including but not limited to Syrian, Iranian, Kurdish, Palestinian, Yemeni, and Afghani refugees

  • ●  Historical and contemporary refugee migrations from and through the African continent, including but not limited to Sudanese, Somali, and Eritrean refugees

  • ●  Jewish refugees and the Holocaust

  • ●  Refugee narratives on social media and in new media, such as video games, virtual

    reality, podcasts, selfies, TikTok and YouTube videos

  • ●  Refugee art, including music or visual art, such as paintings, sculptures, and installations

  • ●  Refugee life narratives, including memoirs, oral histories, and ethnographies

  • ●  Refugee performances, both theatrical/dramatic and experimental/activist

  • ●  Refugee literature, including novels, short stories, poetry, graphic novels, and comics

Final chapters will be approximately 7,500 words including endnotes and bibliography. Citations will follow the Chicago Manual of Style.

If interested, please send a short abstract (250 words) to Dr. Vinh Nguyen ( and Dr. Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi ( by September 30, 2020. We look forward to reading your submissions!