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African Asylum at a Crossroads

Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights

Iris Berger (Editor), Tricia Redeker Hepner (Editor), Benjamin N. Lawrance (Editor), Joanna T. Tague (Editor), Meredith Terretta (Editor), Tricia Redeker Hepner (Editor)


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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.

Praise For African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights

“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

Ohio University Press, 9780821421383, 280pp.

Publication Date: May 15, 2015

About the Author

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.