There are more refugees and displaced persons in the world now than at any time since 1946. For many Americans the refugee crisis seems far away, in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Yet we, too, are experiencing a migration crisis. Central Americans flee north from their violent countries, millions of unauthorized workers and their families face the threat of deportation, and politicians struggle to articulate effective immigration, refugee, and asylum policies. University of Washington Press author, human rights activist, and anthropologist Linda Rabben will put this worldwide crisis in historical and political context in this talk.
Linda Rabben is associate research professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Fierce Legion of Friends: A History of Human Rights Campaigns and Campaigners and Brazil’s Indians and the Onslaught of Civilization: The Yanomami and the Kayapó (University of Washington Press, 2004).
Dr. Rabben’s discussion will draw from her new book Sanctuary and Asylum: A Social and Political History (University of Washington Press, 2016). The practice of sanctuary – giving refuge to the threatened, vulnerable stranger – may be universal among humans. From primate populations to ancient religious traditions to the modern legal institution of asylum, Rabben explores the long history of sanctuary and analyzes modern asylum policies in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, contrasting them with the role that courageous individuals and organizations have played in offering refuge to survivors of torture, persecution, and discrimination. Rabben gives close attention to the current refugee crisis in Europe and to Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States. This wide-ranging, timely, and carefully documented account draws on Rabben's experiences as a human rights advocate as well as her training as an anthropologist. Sanctuary and Asylum will help citizens, professionals, and policy makers take informed and compassionate action.