Public Lecture: Prof. Patricia Daley

Decolonising Asylum: Colonialism, Racism and Humanitarianism in the Shaping of Refugee (Un) Belonging in East Africa

African Studies Group
4 min readAug 25, 2022

When: 5:30 — 7:00 PM AEST, Thursday 29 September 2022

Where: Room 230 (Theatre) in Kwong Lee Dow Building 234 Queensberry Street Carlton, VIC 3053 (and via Zoom)

Registration is free but essential. Click here to register or paste into your browser this link:

Asylum has become a stigmatised term in the West and, inevitably, in some African states where refugee policies and practices have been shaped by a humanitarianism that is informed by colonialism, racism, and the securitisation associated with Cold War/post-Cold War geopolitics. In this lecture, Patricia will use evidence from the East African region to illustrate how humanitarianism and neo-liberal peace-building contributed to the dehumanisation of refugees and displaced communities. She argues for a more humanising approach that:

1) centres anti-racist and decolonial praxis;

2) is grounded in research and policy that eschews ‘localwashing’; and

3) is characterised by disobedience to hegemonic ways of knowing and the desensitised categorisations of people.

In conclusion, She uses evidence from the anti-colonial/anti-apartheid movement in Africa to demonstrate how we might respond to the urgency of embracing an ethical responsibility that priorities our common humanity.

The lecture will be facilitated by Dr Savitri Taylor (La Trobe University) with a response from Kofi Bediako (ASG Co-convenor and PhD Researcher, University of Melbourne).

Please help us limit food waste by registering here. Entry to the public lecture is free, but a donation is encouraged for those who are able to support ASG’s activities.

About the Speaker

Patricia Daley is an African-Jamaican feminist and Professor of the Human Geography of Africa at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. She is also the Helen Morag Fellow and Tutor in Geography at Jesus College Oxford. In 2021, she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and, in 2022, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

She has researched and published widely on refugees, political and gender-based violence, humanitarianism, and citizenship in East Africa, as well as on the experience of Black people within the academy. She is the author of Gender and Genocide in Burundi: The Search for Spaces of Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (James Currey Publishers) and co-edited with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh The Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations. Her forthcoming books in 2023 include Human Geography: A Very Short Introduction (OUP) co-authored with Dr Ian Klinke and Decolonizing development studies: Disobedient pedagogies for decolonial futures. London: Pluto Press, co-authored with Dr Amber Murrey.

Patricia is passionate about equity and diversity, and decolonial praxis in research and the curriculum.

The Facilitator

Dr Savitri Taylor is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Research and Industry Engagement) in the Law School, La Trobe University, where she has worked since 1995. She researches and writes about asylum and refugee issues in Australia, the Asia Pacific and globally, mainly from an international human rights law perspective.

Reimagining Migration in(out) of Africa in the Post-Pandemic World Conference — Early Bird Registrations Now Open!

The African Studies Group (ASG), in collaboration with the African Research and Engagement in Australia Initiative (AREiA), invites you to join the 3rd annual International ASG Conference.

This 3-day conference seeks to bring together scholars (students, faculty, and researchers), advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and community members within and outside Australia for a conversation on the increasing politicisation of mobility in and out of the African continent and the experiences of migrant communities and their resilient cultures.

Conference highlights include a public lecture by Professor Patricia Daley (University of Oxford), a research masterclass with Professor Karen Farquharson (University of Melbourne), an Oxford Union-style debate between UWA African Students’ Union (ASU) and Unimelb’s African Studies Group (ASG), a ‘fireside conversation’ on rethinking refuge for refugees in and from Africa and a cultural performance by Drum Voices.

Tickets are between $50 and $200 (click the registration link for details).

We encourage ASG student members and our partner community organisations interested in attending to reach out to the organising committee for coupons.

We hope you are able to join us!

For any inquiries, please get in touch with



African Studies Group

ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne.