April 7, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Congratulations to Dr. Bharati Sethi, Associate Professor of the School of Social Work and Dr. Richard Csiernik, Professor of the School of Social Work, on the publication of a new book they co-edited, Understanding the Refugee Experience in the Canadian Context.

“We hope that the information will be valuable to those who share our commitment to imagining a nation where refugees and asylum seekers feel rooted and safe in our communities,” says Dr. Sethi.

Drs. Sethi and Csiernik co-edited the book with Dr. Sepali Guruge, Professor in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University.  Dr. Guruge has a strong reputation in immigration work and lived experiences of resettlement as a racialized scholar.

Dr. Sethi says that even as the numbers of refugees in Canada continue to rise, there was no text at the time the book proposal was submitted, that addressed refugee experiences from a Canadian context. (One book, focusing on the experience of Syrian refugees, has been published since.) She felt it would be important for students and other scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to grasp that resettlement is a complex process, as is the question of belonging and home. She also wanted to highlight the unique experiences of this population as they are often grouped with other categories of immigrants.

“From my personal experiences, I felt I needed to invest in individuals and families who deserve safe spaces to have their stories heard. Within the narrative of ‘resettlement’ involves a complex set of Otherness, identity politics, and social relations of power,” says Dr. Sethi.

Dr. Csiernik says that despite his demographics placing him “in every category of privilege that exists in Canada,” he is the grandchild and child of refugees.

“One reason why I contributed to this book is to encourage readers to become allies not in name alone but in intent. As Canadians, we have a historical relationship with refugees who come to Canada to create a new home. This is a relationship that will not abate given the current health, economic, political, and environmental issues. Refugees (including my family) have made Canada one of the most prosperous nations on the planet. The major difference now, from when my family settled here, is that the refugees are not called ‘Canadian enough.’ Unlike my own family, many contemporary refugees don’t ‘look’ like the majority – a symbolically loaded word; a lived reality,” says Dr. Csiernik.

“Understanding the Refugee Experience in the Canadian Context” includes contributions from 32 authors, with the goal of helping readers to appreciate the shared and distinct migration and resettlement experiences within refugee communities. The book is divided into five sections, and each chapter concludes with key takeaway points that can serve as a useful guide and a source of reflection for researchers, educators, students, service providers, and policymakers.

Authors include Dr. Csiernik, Dr. Andrew Mantulak, Associate Professor of the School of Social Work, and alumna Siham Elkassem, BSW '15, MSW '16.

This is the first book Dr. Sethi has edited. She says that, despite the challenges of working with 32 authors, especially during COVID-19, “the end product is rewarding.”  The authors were accommodating and willing to take feedback. “They were very open and I learnt from every single author in the book,” says Dr. Sethi.  

For more information and to purchase Understanding the Refugee Experience in the Canadian Context, please visit https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-6300-1/.