No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2016

JST526 Refugee Testimony and Narration (8)


This subject examines the context, value and purpose of refugee experience as it is written, spoken and recorded. It critically examines the processes of producing narratives of experience that are essential for obtaining refugee status but which must also be understood as a process of interpretation by others. This subject looks at how, when and why refugee testimony is produced and what narrative forms it takes. The subject engages with the various institutions, individuals and communities which deploy refugee experience and these include amongst others, the autobiographical, the therapeutic, the governmental and the family. This subject examines the status of experience and the production of refugee subjectivity and engages critically with post colonial critiques of narration, the right to narrate and postmodern conceptions of power as productive.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details prior to contacting their course coordinator: JST526
Where differences exist between the handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLAustralian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Assumed Knowledge


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which refugee experience is produced as truth only within certain conditions and contexts and apply these theoretical understandings to practical work;
- be able to demonstrate an ethical appreciation of the many ways in which particular narratives of refugee experience can both extend and/or diminish trauma;
- be able to critically examine the histories of narrative and testimony and their implications for recording refugee experience;
- be able to contextualise the refugee narratives that are organised through different discourses such as refugee status requirements, therapeutic, medical and citizenship.


The subject will cover the following topics:
- contemporary appreciation of what constitutes a narrative or testimony - postcolonial critiques of narration - critiques of testimony as single truth - narratives of self and the production of subjectivities - the ethical imagination and the function of narrative - representation and assertion of particular refugee claims - interview and response of refugees as a function of the state - the operation of doubt and truth within testimony as cultural productions - refugee status as a partial truth - oral versus written refugee histories - ethical implications of creating refugee narrative and testimony - the status and political operation of autobiography - refugee narratives within a medical, therapeutic and government context


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.