International Refugee Law seminar series: Legal Change from the Bottom Up: The Development of Gender Asylum Jurisprudence in the United States

19 March 2013, 17:30 - 19:30

Speakers Abstract:

Deborah Anker is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).  She has taught law students at Harvard for over 25 years.  Author of a leading treatise, Law of Asylum in the United States, Anker has co-drafted ground-breaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs.  Professor Anker is one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States; she is cited frequently by international and domestic courts and tribunals, including the United States Supreme Court.  In 2011, she was chosen to be a fellow of the prestigious American Bar Foundation. Deborah Anker is a pioneer in the development of clinical legal education in the immigration field, training students in direct representation of refugees and creating a foundation for clinics at law schools around the country.

Professor Deborah Anker, Harvard University
Organised by:
Human Rights Consortium
Event Type:
STB3/6 (Stewart House, basement)
Venue Details:

Stewart House
University of London
32 Russell Square 
London WC1B 5DN


The recognition of gender-based asylum claims has had not only an extraordinary effect on women refugee claimants, but it has transformed refugee law generally both in the United States and to a great extent among many other signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention.   The growing recognition of gender-based asylum is a product of a multi-level approach to legal change, but a bottom-up approach can be seen in persistent efforts of practitioners bringing cases before immigration judges and local asylum offices, and transforming the thinking of adjudicators and relevant institutional cultures.  Gender asylum also originated not in statutes, regulations or pronouncements from higher courts but in relatively non-normative instruments including gender asylum guidelines, policy guidance and training material—from the bottom up.  Law and social change is an increasingly salient topic among scholars, and the development of U.S. gender asylum law tells a fascinating and different story of progressive legal change.

To book a place at this seminar, please click here.

This seminar is free and open to all. Although you are booking to attend via the University of London online store, you will not be charged.


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The University of London has established a prestigious scholarship for the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies by distance learning.

These awards are named the Guy S. Goodwin-Gill Scholarships to celebrate the achievements of the renowned refugee law expert Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, a close friend and supporter of the Refugee Law Initiative at the University’s School of Advanced Study since its inception.

The scholarships seek to support outstanding students who might not otherwise be able to gain access to the MA in Refugee Protection.



Refugee Law Initiative: leading and promoting research in international refugee law