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Asylum and Extraction in the Republic of Nauru

23 February 2023
1.00pm – 2.00pm AEDT
Morven Brown Boardroom (Room 310), Morven Brown Building UNSW Sydney, Kensington Campus (see map)
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In this interactive, brown-bag lunch seminar, Scientia Professor Jane McAdamAO will talk to Julia Morris about her new book, Asylum and Extraction in the Republic of Nauru, followed by questions from the audience. This book provides an extraordinary glimpse into Nauru’s offshore processing arrangement and its impact on islanders, workforces, and migrant populations. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Nauru, Australia, and Geneva, as well as the archives of the British Phosphate Commission, Julia Morris charts the country’s colonial connection to phosphate through to a new industrial sector in asylum. She explores how this extractive industry is peopled by an ever-shifting cast of refugee lawyers, social workers, clinicians, policy makers, and academics globally and how the very structures of Nauru’s colonial phosphate industry, and the legacy of the ‘phosphateer’ era, made it easy for a new human extractive sector to take root on the island.

The book also highlights the institutional fabric, discourses, and rhetoric that inform the governance of migration around the world. Morris illuminates how refugee rights activism and #RefugeesWelcome-style movements are caught up in the hardening of border enforcement operations worldwide, calling for freedom of movement that goes beyond adjudicating hierarchies of suffering.

Her book is available via this link and can be purchased with a 30% discount code (09BCARD).

Location: Morven Brown Boardroom (Room 310), Morven Brown Building

UNSW Sydney, Kensington Campus (see map)

About the presenters

Julia Morris is Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is a political anthropologist and migration studies scholar whose research focuses on the commodification of human mobility. Her work examines the postcolonial overlaps of resource extractive sectors centred on migrants and commodities, extending to upcoming projects on conservation strategies in frontier development.

Jane McAdam AO is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change, disasters and displacement. In 2022, she led the drafting of the Pacific Regional Framework on Disaster Mobility, a world-first instrument that is being deliberated by Pacific governments. She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field. She serves on a number of international committees, including the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise (as Co-Rapporteur until 2018); the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; the Technical Advisory Group for the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme; and the Advisory Council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. In 2017, she received the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration. In 2021, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 'for distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people'. 


Co-hosted by UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, the Forced Migration Research Network, and the Institute for Global Development