CfP: Routledge Handbook of Forced Displacement and NGOs in Asia Pacific

The call for contributions to the Routledge Handbook of Forced Displacement and NGOs in Asia Pacific is now open. 

The Routledge Handbook of Forced Displacement and NGOs in Asia Pacific aims to present a comprehensive survey of the dynamics of conflict and climate induced forced displacement and organisational response across Asia and the Pacific since the Second World War. Recognising that displacement across the region is on the rise, and that situations facing displaced people and hosting communities are likely to worsen in the coming decades, itis both timely and important to stop, take stock, and understand the historical sequences, theoretical conceptualisations, and practical responses that have led to the present day, while stimulating debate about how best to prepare for the years ahead.

In order to present a thorough, rigorous, and up-to-date exploration of the myriad dynamics inherent in civil society response to forced migration, the Handbookeditors will curate a wide range of contributions, drawing upon the expertise of academics, practitioners, historians, theorists, policy makers, political scientists, economists, and the voices of affected communities across the region.Of particular interest will be contributions directly engaging the historical development or current practice and experience of NGOs and other actors in Asia Pacific, either focussing on particular case studies or exploring larger trends in mobilisation, advocacy, political response, effectiveness, innovation, or similar themes. Additionally, contributions are being sought to ground the text in the exploration of theoretical and conceptual frameworks around displacement, social work and social justice, humanitarianism, and protection. 

Of particular interest to the editors are contributions that explore one or more of the following questions:

  • What are the most unique or innovative aspects of organisational and civil society response to displaced populations in Asia Pacific?
  • How are fundamental avenues for progressive action challenged or benefitted by current structures?
  • What are the historical trends in terms of providing favourable contexts for advancing rights and livelihoods for displaced populations through civil society supports?
  • What are the interesting comparative contexts in this very diverse region? What are transferable best practices?
  • Where is civil society/NGO engagement a potentially harmful contribution to the lives of displaced populations? Is intervention always a good thing?
  • What is the experience of the affected populations?
  • What ethical considerations must be explored relating to NGO engagement with displaced communities? How can these be best approached?
  • Where do the displaced communities themselves fit into the assistance and support frameworks?
  • What standards do we apply to the various actors, including NGOs, in terms of treatment of displaced populations?
  • What is the experience of civil society and the NGO sector in the region, or in a specific country, when it comes to working with displaced populations? 
  • What are the impacts of NGOs on global policy and changes in global governance regarding forced displacement?
  • What has been the relationship between religion, affected populations, and NGOs operating for/with displaced populations?
  • What role do NGOs currently play in formulating strategies/policies to address the inevitability of future climate induced forced displacement?  
  • What are the current collaboration models being practiced by NGOs? How effective are they? 

Chapter contributions will be categorized under three main headings: Theories, Histories and Practices. 


The Asia Pacific region hosts some of the largest numbers of displaced people on the planet, with some of the fewest protections available and sparse frameworks for advancing rights, livelihood, and policy. The region maintains the lowest number of signatory states to international refugee protection covenants, and the majority of national protection and support systems are ad hoc, precarious, and unpredictable. Civil society plays a crucial role filling the gap left by lack of policy, and ground-up and international efforts to build civil society across the region are diverse and impressive, drawing on a rich – and largely undocumented – history of popular engagement, at times through unconventional means. Civil society space is shrinking, however, as nationalist rhetoric and anti-NGO messaging threaten gains made in key regional contexts. It is essential, now more than ever, that we understand displacement dynamics and the civil society movement across the Asia Pacific region – it’s history, theoretical underpinnings, and current practice – in order to inform debates moving forward and advance fundamental human rights across the region.


In order to advance a submission, please email the editors including a short abstract of the proposed contribution with a title (500 words), brief bio (200 words) and contact details (email address) to thembalewis@gmail.comand Articles submitted should be original contributions and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. 

Final contribution word count: 10,000

Timeline:  Abstract proposal deadline 15 March 2020

                  Announcement of the contributors 30 April 2020 

                  Chapter contribution deadline 15 November 2020

About the Routledge Handbook Series

The aim of Routledge Handbooks is to publish a comprehensive, must-have survey of a core sub-discipline aimed at the library market. Most are published in hardback first, with a new-in-paperback for students and individual purchase 18 to 24 months later. The main goal of each handbook is to survey a topic, explaining why the issue or area is important, and critically discussing the leading views in the area.The market is truly global, with strong sales expected in the UK and Europe, the US and Asia, in particular, and Routledge Handbooks Onlinenow provides access at a chapter-level, making content more discoverable than ever. Handbooks are primarily aimed at researchers, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates. 

About the Editors 

Gül Inanç is alecturer at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is the founder of Opening Universities for Refugees (OUR) a non-profit which works closely with the displaced communities in Asia Pacific region, and the founding co-director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS) at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland to be launched in June 2020. Her latest publication is Access to Higher Education, Refugees’ Stories from Malaysia co-authored with Lucy Bailey and published by Routledge in 2018. 

Themba Lewis is Secretary General at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Oxford and the American University in Cairo, and has taught on refugeerights and refugee law in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He is a Registered Member of the Law Society of England and Wales, and has worked with refugees as an advocate, academic, and service provider for over a decade across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In 2011, Themba worked as a photojournalist in Cairo covering the Egyptian revolution, Tahrir Square and the Mubarak Trial. His writing and/or photography has been published by Marion Boyers Publishers, al Jazeera, the Guardian, The American University in Cairo Press, Courrier International, Make/Shift Magazine, FUSE, and others.

[1]For the purposes of this Handbook, the Asia Pacific region adheres to the United Nations geographic construction. This includes the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia China, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Republic, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea,Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen. Although Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia are members of the Eastern European group and Australia, New Zealand and Israel are members of the Western European and Others Group in UN geographic construction, studies concerned with these countries will remain of interest to the editors.