"Sandra Dudley brings unique and valuable insights into the field of forced migration both through her study of the Karenni refugees in Thailand, an overlooked group of refugees who have fled dire circumstances of counter/insurgency and destruction, and a material culture disciplinary lens. This is an eloquently composed text with high scholarly merits." * Hazel Lang, Australian National University Focusing on the highly diverse Karenni refugee population living in camps on the Thai-Burma border, this innovative book explores materiality, embodiment, memory, imagination, and identity among refugees, providing new and important ways of understanding how refugees make sense of experience, self, and other. It examines how and to what ends refugees perceive, represent, manipulate, use as metaphor, and otherwise engage with material objects and spaces, and includes a focus on the real and metaphorical journeys that bring about and perpetuate exile. The combined emphasis on both displacement and materiality, and the analysis of the cultural construction and intersections of exilic objects, spaces, and bodies, are unique in the study of both refugees and material culture.
Drawing theoretical influences from phenomenology, aesthetics, and beyond, as well as from refugee studies and anthropology, the author addresses the current lack of theoretical analysis of the material, visual, spatial, and embodied aspects of forced migration, providing a fundamentally interlinked analysis of enforced exile and materiality. Sandra Dudley has worked with and on Karenni refugees since 1996, completing her doctorate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2001. She is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, having previously taught at Oxford and UEA and worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum.