Critical Refugee Studies Collective Receives $1.6 Million Grant

Grant to help develop Critical Refugee Studies program at University of California

Artist: Tiffany Chung, “Finding One’s Shadow in Ruins and Rubble,” 2014. Courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – The Critical Refugee Studies Collective (CRSC), and Lan Duong, professor in the media and cultural studies program at the University of California, Riverside, have been awarded a $1.6 million grant by the University of California, Office of the President. The grant will allow the group to collaborate across five UC campuses to develop curricula, symposia, and a website, devoted to Critical Refugee Studies.

“This generous grant will allow us to develop programming across the UCs as well as award grants to scholars, artists, and activists working on projects dealing with refugees,” Duong said.

Duong is the co-principal investigator of the grant and will be co-editing an anthology on Critical Refugee Studies. The CRSC is led by UC San Diego Ethnic Studies professor Yen Le Espiritu. The goal of the project is to bring cultural studies and humanities scholars together to better understand one of the defining issues of the 21st century: the refugee experience in both past and present as war and climate change continue to displace millions of people around the world.

Espiritu, who is credited with developing the nascent field of critical refugee studies, will work with faculty from Berkeley, Merced, UCLA and Riverside to document how the lives of distinct waves of refugees have been shaped by human conflict and climate change. The UC Office of the President notes that California has settled 700,000 refugees since the mid-‘70s, and this research is aimed at informing the policies and practices that shape the refugee experience in California and beyond.

“I am extremely happy to be a part of this effort and I hope that it will place the University of California at the forefront of the critical study of refugees in California and beyond,” Duong said.

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