“This is a first-rate collection of original essays focused on asylum jurisprudence involving African refugees…. These essays are provocative, well documented, and eloquent. The authors examine a subject that has been largely overlooked: the extraordinarily significant role of experts in legal processes…. The impressive contributors are anthropologists, historians, and legal scholars who offer provocative remarks about cases including many in which they served as expert witnesses.”
Alison Dundes Renteln, professor of political science and anthropology at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and Law, University of Southern California
African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights examines the emerging trend of requests for expert opinions in asylum hearings or refugee status determinations. This is the first book to explore the role of court-based expertise in relation to African asylum cases and the first to establish a rigorous analytical framework for interpreting the effects of this new reliance on expert testimony.
Over the past two decades, courts in Western countries and beyond have begun demanding expert reports tailored to the experience of the individual claimant. As courts increasingly draw upon such testimony in their deliberations, expertise in matters of asylum and refugee status is emerging as an academic area with its own standards, protocols, and guidelines. This deeply thoughtful book explores these developments and their effects on both asylum seekers and the experts whose influence may determine their fate.
Contributors: Iris Berger, Carol Bohmer, John Campbell, Katherine Luongo, E. Ann McDougall, Karen Musalo, Tricia Redeker Hepner, Amy Shuman, Joanna T. Tague, Meredith Terretta, and Charlotte Walker-Said.
Iris Berger, is Vincent O’Leary Professor of History at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the author of South Africa in World History.
Tricia Redeker Hepner is associate professor of anthropology and director of the Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of Soldiers, Martyrs, Traitors, and Exiles: Political Conflict in Eritrea and the Diaspora.
Benjamin N. Lawrance is a professor of African history at the University of Arizona and author of Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling.
Joanna T. Tague is assistant professor of African history at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
Meredith Terretta is an associate professor of history at the University of Ottawa and the author of Petitioning for Our Rights, Fighting for Our Nation: The History of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949–1960.
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The human rights movement in South Africa’s transition to a postapartheid democracy has been widely celebrated as a triumph for global human rights. It was a key aspect of the political transition, often referred to as a miracle, which brought majority rule and democracy to South Africa. The country’s new constitution, its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the moral authority of Nelson Mandela stand as exemplary proof of this achievement.
Taking everyday practices and interactions as their focus, contributors draw on various theoretical perspectives to examine how tensions between humanitarianism and security are negotiated at the local level. They thus show how asylum seekers are produced as suspicious subjects by the very systems to which they appeal for protection.