21 Jun

‚Journal of Refugee Studies‘ Special Issue „History of Refugee Protection“ with my introduction – now published

The Special Issue „History of Refugee Protection“ has been published as the June 2017 issue of Journal of Refugee Studies. It is the result of an initial seminar series that I organised at the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford in early 2015 and of ongoing editorial work with an additional workshop and extensive collaboration with and among the authors. I am really grateful to all the fantastic authors who contributed nine fascinating articles, covering the history or refugee protection from asylum in ancient Greece to UNHCR’s refugee camps in Central Africa. Overall, the publication shows how the idea of ‚the refugee‘ and the meaning of protection was transformed but also had notable characteristics throughout the centuries, in particular that the idea of extending protection to others depended on the organisation of receiving political communities.

The Special Issue is available form Oxford University Press:


Special Issue: History of Refugee Protection

07 Jun

1. Ausgabe der „Z’Flucht – Zeitschrift für Flüchtlingsforschung“ erschienen

Die Z’Flucht ist ein neues peer-reviewed journal, das wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus unterschiedlichsten Disziplinen zu Fragestellungen der Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung veröffentlicht. Sie erscheint zweimal im Jahr im Nomos-Verlag (Baden-Baden) und wird von Marcel Berlinghoff (IMIS), Ulrike Krause (Zentrum für Konfliktforschung, Philipps-Universität Marburg), Jochen Oltmer (IMIS) und mir herausgegeben.

Das Inhaltverzeichnis des ersten Heftes finden Sie nachstehend sowie unter http://www.zflucht.nomos.de/.

Für kommende Ausgaben können Beiträge jederzeit bei der Redaktion der Z’Flucht via email hidden; JavaScript is required eingereicht werden.

Das Editorial erschien auch auf dem FlüchtlingsforschungsBlog:


Z’Flucht – Zeitschrift für Flüchtlingsforschung

Jahrgang 1 (2017), Heft 1
DOI: 10.5771/2509-9485-2017-1


28 Mrz

„Germany: Two faces of refugee reporting“ my answer to the World Policy Journal BIG QUESTION

The World Policy Journal poses a „Big Question“ in each of their issues. For their Spring issue 2017 they invited me to answer: „What Role Does the Media Play Driving Xenophobia?“

My answer is that in Germany we can observe two faces of refugee reporting.

You can find my and others‘ answers here
and in the latest issue of the World Policy Journal:

09 Feb

Call for Papers: Volunteering for Refugees: Between Integration, Humanitarianism, and Political Action

Call for Papers – Special Issue
Volunteering for Refugees:
Between Integration, Humanitarianism, and Political Action

Download as Pdf

Recent years have seen the emergence of a new actor in refugee policy. Volunteers have played a crucial role in the facilitation of arrival and provision of services to forced migrants in countries of the Global North. While the protection, reception and integration of refugees classically falls into the domain of the nation-state, the recent humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe has brought out significant sections of the population to support the new arrivals. Beyond Europe, volunteers have also played an increasingly important role in helping refugees locally, from supporting them in the resettlement process, to providing legal counselling. This public engagement in support of refugees, while not completely new, is unprecedented in its current scope. Sometimes, engagement has been organised by or in cooperation with more established civil society actors like NGOs and social movements but often it has also sprung up spontaneously. While so-called humanitarian volunteering tourism has gained some academic scrutiny in recent years, volunteering for refugees in the Global North has eluded most analysis thus far. Adding to classic actors like the state and NGOs as well as refugees themselves, volunteering challenges both governance and resilience approaches to refugee integration, protection, and politics. Particularly amidst the failure of traditional institutions, volunteering brings unexplored aspects to refugee policy with civil society’s social links, informal practices and grassroots politics, to name just a few.

Volunteers working for refugees are active in a wide variety of tasks and are motivated by a broad spectrum of factors. Images of volunteers distributing donated food and clothes to new arrivals and rescuing refugees on European shores were broadcast around the world. More recently, lawyers have volunteered to support refugees at US airports in response to the immigration ban. Through more mundane tasks like language teaching, assisting with administrative paper work and offering housing, volunteers often provide help that is less publicly visible,  but at the very heart of civil society. At the same time, civil society itself undergoes a process of re-evaluation as it opens up to newcomers and at times, becomes more radical. Volunteer assistance to refugees often oscillates between a humanitarian attitude and an approach directed at political change, invoking notions of global connectedness and solidarity by pointing to the responsibility of the Global North. These volunteers include citizens, non-citizens and refugees themselves and cover a broad spectrum of society, from political activists to people motivated by humanitarian reason, to locals focussed on providing integration support. Volunteering for refugees therefore has many points of reference with sometimes contradicting goals.

So far, we know very little about the role that volunteers and civil society play in refugee policy, especially in international comparison. This special issue, which will be submitted to a major migration-related journal, is intended to begin a discussion on the potential and pitfalls of the volunteering movement in refugee policy.  The aim of this collection of works is to conceptualize the different aspects within this new field based on a broad and varied foundation of research. We are therefore seeking empirically based contributions that discuss volunteering for refugees around the world. We welcome qualitative case studies, quantitative studies, and comparative studies which may utilize any theoretical or methodological framework.

The special issue will be the result of a collaborative process. We invite all contributors to take part in a workshop held in Berlin in June, 2017. Travel and accommodation will be covered. Travel to Berlin from outside Europe may only be partially covered; however, we encourage contributors who do not see themselves in a position to cover these costs to apply nonetheless as we will do our best to accommodate their participation.


Please submit proposals of no more than 200 words with names and short biographies of all authors by February 28th 2017 (deadline) to email hidden; JavaScript is required and email hidden; JavaScript is required.



28.2.2017 – Deadline for Proposals

06.3.2017 – Participation confirmation

– Submission of proposal to journal

28.5.2017 – Deadline first draft

mid-June 2017 – Workshop in Berlin

September 2017 – Deadline final draft, submissions to journal

2018 – Publication


Dr. Serhat Karakayali, Berlin Institute for Migration Research (BIM), Humboldt University

Dr. J. Olaf Kleist, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), University of Osnabrück


This Call for Papers is part of the ‘Volunteering for Refugees in Europe’ Project, funded by Gerda-Henkel Foundation.  http://efa-studie.weebly.com/efa-balkan.html


03 Feb

Mitglied geworden im ‚Rat für Migration‘ und bei ‚Oxfam Deutschland e.V.‘

Ich freue mich, in den letzten Monaten in zwei großartige Organisationen aufgenommen worden zu sein.

Oxfam ist eine entwicklungs- und menschenrechtspolitische Organisation, die mit Büros weltweit vertreten ist und sich seit einigen Jahren auch in Deutschland mit Kampagnen und Lobbyarbeit für Schutz von und Zugang zu Ressourcen, für Demokratie und Gerechtigkeit einsetzen. Dazu gehört auch der Einsatz für die Rechte von Migranten und Flüchtlingen. Ich freue mich sehr, in den etwa 35 Personen umfassenden Verein aufgenommen worden zu sein.

„Der Rat für Migration e.V.
 ist ein bundesweiter Zusammenschluss von über 130 Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern. Er sieht seine zentrale Aufgabe in einer öffentlich kritischen Begleitung der Politik in Fragen von Migration und Integration. Seit seiner Gründung setzt er sich mit seinen Publikationen, Auftritten in der Öffentlichkeit und Stellungnahmen in den Medien für eine differenzierte, demokratische und weitsichtige politische Gestaltung von Migration und Integration ein.“*
Ich werde mich hier insbesondere in der Sektion „Migration, Flucht und europäische Grenzregime“ engagieren.

*Selbstbeschreibung des Rats für Migration


17 Nov

New Monograph, out now: ‚Political Memories and Migration: Belonging, Society, and Australia Day‘ (Palgrave)

This book explores the relationship between political memories of migration and the politics of migration, following over two hundred years of commemorating Australia Day. References to Europeans’ original migration to the continent have been engaged in social and political conflicts to define who should belong to Australian society, who should gain access, and based on what criteria. These political memories were instrumental in negotiating inherent conflicts in the formation of the Australian Commonwealth from settler colonies to an immigrant society. By the second half of the twentieth century, the Commonwealth employed Australia Day commemorations specifically to incorporate new arrivals, promoting at first citizenship and, later on, multiculturalism. The commemoration has been contested throughout its history based on two distinct forms of political memories providing conflicting modes of civic and communal belonging to Australian politics and policies of migration. Introducing the concept of Political Memories, this book offers a novel understanding of the social and political role of memories, not only in regard to migration.

More Information and (pre)order at Palgrave


“What makes memories political, and what does politics do to memory?  In this important book, Olaf Kleist develops the concept of political memory to understand the role of memory in migration, and vice versa.  This is an enormously sophisticated work of both high theory and close empirical analysis, and makes an outstanding contribution to the growing field of memory studies, with implications far beyond the issue (migration) and case (Australia) it examines.” (Professor Jeffrey Olick, University of Virginia)


“In this book Olaf Kleist has produced a tour de force for migration historians and theorists of memory alike. He brings a fresh German perspective to the key debates about remembrance, migration and belonging in Australia by exploring the history of Australia Day commemoration from a political science perspective. By using a concept called ‘political memory’ he not only explores the inherently political nature of remembering but also the way memories have impact in various political arenas across time, such as government policies and practice, and how these in turn influence memory work in the present.  In doing so he makes a vital contribution to the contemporary concerns about how we imagine ‘belonging’ in the increasingly culturally diverse societies of the world in the twenty-first century.” (Professor Paula Hamilton, UTS Sydney

29 Okt

Piqd Podcast Interview: ‚Migration ist der Normalfall‘

Auf piqd durchforsten über 100 kluge Köpfe das Netz nach den besten Inhalten. Hier kommen sie zu Wort und versorgen euch mit einem „Best Of“ ihrer Themen der vergangenen Wochen – und der Zukunft – zum Nachhören!

Link zum Podcast

Flüchtlingsforschung ist eine multidisziplinäre Sache: Urban Studies, alle Sozialwissenschaften, Rechtswissenschaften, Mediziner, Psychologen uvm. ziehen an einem Strang und bringen ihre Expertise ein. Dabei geht es immer auch um Konkrete Hilfe und Verbesserung der Situation. Olaf findet:

„Eine Forschung, die sich nicht bemüht, Leiden zu vermindern, ist es eigentlich nicht wert, betrieben zu werden.“

Daher versuchen die Mitglieder des Netzwerks Flüchtlingsforschung auch, sich in öffentliche Debatten einzuschalten.

Die Forschung zeigt: Die Leute fliehen aufgrund der Situation an ihrem Wohnort, nicht, weil Einladungen von Bundeskanzlerinnen winken. Der Normalfall ist eigentlich, dass Leute versuchen, in ihrer Herkunftsregion einen sicheren Ort zu finden. Warum der Türkei-Deal in Europa nicht wirklich umsetzbar ist und warum wir nicht nach dem „australischen Modell“ verfahren können – diese und andere Fragen erörtert Olaf in der siebten Folge des piqd Podcasts.

Mein Piqd Profil


11 Aug

2. Forschungsbericht zu ehrenamtlicher Flüchtlingsarbeit (EFA 2) ist erschienen: Auswertung des ‚Sommers des Willkommens‘ 2015

Im Anschluss an den „Sommer des Willkommens“ des letzten Jahres, der durch ein nie zuvor gesehenes Engagement für Geflüchtete gekennzeichnet war, wurden im Rahmen der zweiten bundesweiten EFA-Studie 2.291 Personen online befragt, die sich ehrenamtlich in der Arbeit mit Geflüchteten engagieren.

Die Ergebnisse dieser zweiten nicht repräsentativen Stichprobe geben in Verbindung mit denen der ersten Studie EFA 1 (Erhebung 2014, Veröffentlichung 2015) wichtige und einzigartige Einblicke in die Dynamiken, Entwicklungen und strukturellen Veränderungen der Bewegung der ehrenamtlichen Flüchtlingsarbeit in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

Dr. Serhat Karakayali, BIM, HU Berlin
Dr. J. Olaf Kleist, IMIS, Universität Osnabrück

Hier finden Sie die Pressemitteilung: BIM-PM EFA2

Hier finden Sie die komplette Studie: BIM-Studie EFA2