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Forced Migration:  Challenges and Change 3rd Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refu

May 06 2010 | McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

Deadline: January 29 2010

Updated: February 14 2010

In recent years, the idea of change has charged political debate in countries around the world and has, in some cases, catalyzed the election of new governments and the creation of innovative programs and policies. This period has also been one of significant change for the field of forced migration. New policies and increasingly securitized perceptions of forced migration have created new practices such as interdiction, detention and expedited deportation that have changed the protection landscape in both the global North and South. At the same time as scholars have questioned the labelling and bureaucratic categorization of forced migrants, the United Nations has piloted new approaches to improve the protection and assistance available to members of traditionally marginalized ?categories?, particularly internally displaced persons. Massive displacement in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis raised the profile of ?environmental refugees? as an issue predicted to grow in importance as the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident. In Canada, the government has recently announced that it is preparing a package of changes to the refugee determination system, including the fast-tracking of claims from countries that are generally considered safe. As a precursor to more sweeping anticipated changes, the government has already imposed visa requirements on Mexico and the Czech Republic in an attempt to stem the flow of refugee claimants from those countries.

The 2010 CARFMS Conference will bring together researchers, policymakers, displaced persons and advocates from diverse disciplinary and regional backgrounds to discuss the changes and challenges faced in the field of forced migration. We invite participants from a wide range of perspectives to explore the practical, experiential, policy-oriented, legal and theoretical questions raised by different processes of change affecting forced migrants at the local, national, regional and international levels. The conference will feature keynote and plenary speeches from leaders in the field, and we welcome proposals for individual papers and organized panels structured around the following broad sub-themes:

Asylum, protection and durable solutions: Needs, current practices and prospects for reform Calls for reform of national and international refugee protection systems have been raised in different quarters, with dramatically diverse visions for change. What are the key challenges facing advocates, policymakers and displaced communities and individuals? How have trends in the interception, interdiction, processing, detention, deportation, protection, settlement and integration of forced migrants shaped prospects for reform? What models might inform the productive reform of the Canadian refugee system? What role might scholars play in efforts to strengthen the protection of forced migrants and the effective resolution of displacement?

Theorizing the changing field of forced migration

Past decades have seen rapid development ? domestically and internationally ? in the study of refugee protection and forced migration both within traditional disciplines and across disciplinary lines. With such significant change in research and policy in recent years, the longer view ? both to the past and to the future ? cannot be neglected. What is the nature of refugee protection in a globalized world, and how is it important (or not) to consider the ?new? era? What have been the historical trajectories of laws, policies and practices in forced migration, and how can the historicization of the field advance understandings of change and contemporary challenges? How have different disciplines, methodologies and approaches affected our understandings? Finally, what role is there for actors outside of academia, from policymakers and refugee advocates to displaced persons themselves?

Experiencing displacement: Changes and challenges How have recent political and social changes, and changes in the structure and operation of the refugee regime affected the lives of displaced persons? What can scholars of forced migration learn about the contemporary reality of the refugee regime by focusing on the lived experience of displaced individuals and communities? In this section, we particularly welcome presentations by displaced individuals, advocates, and organizations working directly with forced migrants.

Pre-conference workshops/networking A number of pre-conference workshops and networking sessions will take place on the afternoon of May 5. More information on pre-conference workshops/session will be available on conference website shortly.

SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS Individuals wishing to present a paper at the conference must submit a 250-word abstract by January 29, 2010. The conference organizers welcome submissions of both individual papers and proposals for panels.

Please submit your abstract via the conference website: For more information, please contact Heather Johnson