CARFMS21: Call for Papers

Utopias as Practices: Refugee Protection and The Coming Futures

Hosted virtually in collaboration with the

Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy,

University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan

October 27-29, 2021

The current refugee protection regime embodies legacies, aspirations, and compromises inherited from post-Second World War geopolitics and law. Increasing recognition of its Eurocentrism, state, local, and translocal resistances and growing fragmentation at multiple scales is spurring new understandings of belonging, community, and membership outside of the mainstream legal framework. People in situations of forced migration are also forging autonomous collectives, bargaining units, mutual aid collectives, and other local utopic communities.   Some observers consider the UN Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration or the 2019 Call to Action of the CIGI World Refugee Council as key steps towards increasing available pathways to safety.

The CARFMS 2021 Organizing Committee wishes to invite you to explore utopias and new visions of the future. Scholars, practitioners, and experts with lived experience will come together to reflect on the transformative potential of utopic thinking and practices in forced migration studies. The Committee suggests but does not limit applications for innovative sessions, panels, roundtables, e-posters, media presentations and demonstrations on the following themes:

  1. How do we define, critically assess and champion utopias at various scales (international, regional, national, sub-national, municipal and multilevel)? What similarities or differences are found in the scholarly and policy-oriented debates in forced migration studies?
  2. What relationships do we see between scholarly thought and progressive actions on the ground?
  3. How do actors and scholars translate the notion of utopian communities into practices? 
  4. How does Indigenous and de-colonial praxis inspire, adjust, correct, or impact refugee scholarship?
  5. How do local actions generate migrant-friendly laws and policies?

Keynote Lectures, Special Sessions, and Networking Opportunities

CARFMS 2021 will include two keynote lectures and several special sessions, to be announced shortly. We are imagining online events such as small group meetings between students and more senior scholars and practitioners; an attendee matchmaking system a student caucus meeting; a session on how to translate research into multimedia platforms; virtual lunch events; conversations on art and media exhibits; exhibits and film documentaries; and NGO- and activist-led discussions. Your suggestions are welcome!

Abstract Submission

We welcome submissions for panels (1.5 hours), individual papers, or workshop (1 hour) formats that can include diverse discussion and/or presentation formats (e.g., media presentations and demonstrations, 1 to 1.5 hours). We also invite art and media exhibits and film documentaries that will be hosted on the website of the CARFMS 2021 conference, and the CARFMS YouTube channel. Please indicate which theme your submission aligns with.

For panel presentations, indicate the overall theme of the panel in your abstract and then the individual authors and their abstracts in the same submission. If you have a theme for a panel and are looking for authors, please feel free to use CARFMS mailing list. If you are not already subscribed to the list, please send a request to

Deadline for submissions is July 15th, 2021.

Submit your abstract proposal here:

Join or Renew Your CARFMS Membership Now

A membership in CARFMS enables access to events, services and activities that will help you network with scholars and practitioners, and will help you keep abreast of evolving research topics, approaches and methodologies in the field of refugee and forced migration studies.

CARFMS 21 will not be charging the usual registration fees. However, membership is mandatory for all who would like to present or attend. When you register for the conference, your fee will provide you with a one-year membership.

CARFMS membership fees and donations are the main source of the Association’s operating and program costs.  

Registration for CARFMS21 will be available soon.

Thank you, and hope to see everyone at CARFMS21!