Alumni Senior Fellow

Dr Galya Ruffer

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 29861-139
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: ruffer@spam


Dr Galya Ruffer joined the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Senior Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 2 'Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation' during June and July and from September until December 2016.

Research Project at the Centre

Does the Refugee Convention Regime Contribute to Refugee Protection? Understanding 'Success' in the Implementation of Refugee Status Determination in Emerging Asylum Systems

Does the implementation of a refugee status determination process contribute to the protection of refugees? Since the enactment of the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol, most of the research in refugee studies has been centered on the development of the international refugee framework and how to best manage the flow of refugees within this framework. There has been an unexamined assumption that the introduction of a formal legal refugee status determination (RSD) process is a good thing, but history tells us that states only implement an RSD process as a mechanism of securitization and deterrence. Out of the 60 million people displaced today, 16 million are refugees and 80% are living in states that are not party to the Refugee Convention. As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and legal advocates argue for the need to encourage non-party states to ratify the Refugee Convention and formalize RSD processes, this study seeks to better understand whether the rise in newly emerging asylum systems is contributing to burden-sharing and cooperation or simply a new way in which states achieve a system of cooperative deterrence. Through the comparative study of refugee protection in emerging asylum systems, this study seeks to offer a better understanding of the role of RSD within the broader international refugee regime. Given that protection is neither uniformly administered nor consistently provided even in countries with formal RSD processes, the project seeks to contribute a deeper understanding of whether and/or how implementing a formal RSD process contributes to the protection of refugees. More broadly, it seeks to better understand the role of international conventions in processes of social inclusion/exclusion, perceptions of international cooperation, management of migration crises and the acceptance of international human rights norms.

Research Interests

  • Socio-legal Rights and Processes of Refugee Protection
  • Refugee and Forced Migrant Citizenship and Belonging in the Political Order
  • Testimony and Processes of Justice
  • Refugees in Post-conflict Reconstruction and Transitional Justice
  • Asylum Law and Policy

Current Projects

  • 'Long-Term Refugee Resettlement in the United States: An Analysis of the Impact of Resettlement and the Lived Experiences of Refugees in Eight Resettlement Communities' (together with Jessica Darrow)
  • 'Informational Components of Refugee Status Determination', in Carleen Maitland (ed.), ICTs for Refugees and Displaced Persons (MIT Press Information Policy, 2017)
  • 'Is the U.S. Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? A Study of the Screening and Refugee Status Determination Process for Central American Women and Children Detained in Artesia, New Mexico', in Idil Atak and James Simeon (ed.), Advancing Protection and Fostering Belonging in an Era of the Criminalization of Migration (McGill-Queens University Press, 2017)
  • 'The Promise of Justice and Forced Migration Studies: Critical Connections between Law, Retribution, Restoration, Accountability and Displaced Peoples', in Nergis Canefe (ed.), Transitional Justice and Forced Migration Studies: Critical Debates (Cambridge University Press, 2017)


Since 08/2011 Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago, USA
Department of Political Science
Senior Lecturer
Since 01/2011 Center for Forced Migration Studies, Buffet Institute for Global Studies, Evanston
08/2008-08/2015 Northwestern University, Evanston
International Studies Programme
Director and Lecturer

Selected Publications

Ruffer, Galya, and Lawrence, Benjamin (2015): Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ruffer, Galya (2014): Testimony of Sexual Violence in the DR Congo and the Injustice of Rape: Moral Outrage, Epistemic Injustice and the Failures of Bearing Witness, Oregon Review of International Law 15: 225–70.

Ruffer, Galya (2013): Legal Forms and Democratic Citizens in Republican Theory, in Andreas Niederberger and Philipp Schink (eds.), Republican Democracy: Liberty, Law and Politics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 233–52.

Ruffer, Galya (2011): Pushed Beyond Recognition? The Liberality of Family Reunification Policies in the EU, Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies 37 (6): 935–51.

Ruffer, Galya (2005): The Cosmopolitics of Asylum Seekers in the European Union, New Political Science 27 (3): 345–66.

Ruffer, Galya, and Jacobson, David (2003): Courts Across Borders: The Implications of Judicial Agency for Human Rights and Democracy, Human Rights Quarterly 25 (1): 74–92.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Refugee Crises and Human Rights
  • Critical Perspectives on Human Rights
  • Constitutional Law
  • Global Constitutionalism

Seminars and Conferences

  • Panelist, 'Responding to Syrian Refugees: A Comparative Analysis of Tradition Resettlement Countries', Roundtable, International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, Pozen, Poland, July 2016
  • Director, 'Expert Roundtable: US Admissions and Receptions Policies as Public/Private Partnership and Federal/State Relations Implications for Local Contexts', Washington, DC, 14 March 2016
  • 'The Demise of the 1951 Refugee Protection Regime and the End of the Rights of Man', Why People Migrate: Multiple Causes, Complex Reasons and Their Normative Assessment. International Conference, Bochum/Essen, 18–20 February 2016
  • Director, Research Forum, 'The United States Refugee Resettlement Program: A Global Model for Successful Humanitarian Response', Northwestern, 4 December 2015
  • Director, Symposium, 'From Temporary Protection to Permanent Settlement: Challenges to the Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey', (with Basak Yavcan), Northwestern, 9 November 2015
  • Director Symposium, 'Conflict Zones and Zones of Conflict: War, Peace and the Continuum of Sexual Violence in Eastern Africa', Northwestern, 12 June 2015
  • Director Workshop, 'How do we know what we know? Methods of Documenting Forced Migration in Global Crisis', Northwestern, 1 June 2015
  • 'Prosecution, Persecution, Protection: Doing Justice for Sexual Violence', Refugee Research Network Finale, Toronto, June 2015
  • 'Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? Decision Rules, Application and the Refugee Status Determination Process of U.S. Hearing Officers', 7 May 2015 as part of the 2014–2015 Joint Speaker Series: Seeking Asylum in North America sponsored by the International Legal Studies Program at California Western School of Law and the Institute for International Comparative and Area Studies at UC San Diego
  • Organizer and presenter, 'Sanctuary Without Refugee Camps: Understanding Protection Needs & Alternative Solutions' (two panels), International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM15), 14–17 July 2014, Bogota, Colombia
  • Director, Workshop (NSF Funded) 'Refugee Protection Outside of the International Legal Framework: Expanding Cross-National and Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations', Northwestern, 27–28 May 2014


  • International Association for the Study of Forced Migration
  • Law and Society
  • American Political Science Assocation
  • African Studies Association
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • American Bar Association


  • Michigan Law School Grotius Research Scholar 2015–2016
  • 'Refugee Protection Outside of the International Legal Framework: Expanding Cross-National and Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations' (Galya Ruffer, Bruce Spencer), National Science Foundation Workshop Grant, February 2014–January 2015

Dr Philip Liste

Dr. Blayne Haggart

Prof. Dr Marianne Marchand

Dr Tamirace Fakhoury

Dr Adam Sandor

Prof. Dr Claudia Derichs

Dr Stephen Adaawen

Dr Dr Ariel Hernández

Prof. Dr Frank Adloff

Dr Bettina Mahlert

Dr Franz Mauelshagen

Prof. Dr Dr Marlies Ahlert

Dr Zeynep Sahin Mencutek

Dr Mariana Nardone

Dr Ying Shen

Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel

Dr Esref Aksu

Dr Micheline van Riemsdijk

Prof. Dr Wouter Werner

Dr Pol Bargués-Pedreny

Dr Burcu Bayram

Dr Isaline Bergamaschi

Dr Felix Bethke

Dr Sarah Van Beurden

Jun.-Prof. Dr Manuel Borutta

Gerardo Bracho

Dr Morgan Brigg

Prof. Dr Lothar Brock

Prof. Stephen Brown

Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Dr Bettina Burger-Menzel

Dr Alessandra Cappelletti

Prof. David Carment, Ph.D.

Dr Paula Castro

Dr Ayse Cavdar

Prof. Dr Gerald Chan

Prof. David Chandler

Prof. Hongming Cheng

Prof. Dr Manjiao Chi

Prof. Andrew Cooper

Prof. Dr Larry Crump

Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

Dr Alejandro Esguerra

Prof. Dr Isabel Feichtner

Dr Peter Finkenbusch

Jaroslava Gajdošová, Ph.D.

Prof. Noemi Gal-Or, Ph.D., LL.B.

Dr Daniel Gaus

Mneesha Gellman, Ph.D.

Dr Payam Ghalehdar

Prof. Faten Ghosn

Dr Gianluca Grimalda

Dr Jennifer Gronau

Dr Stefan Groth

Prof. Dr Eric Grynaviski

Dr Petra Gümplová

Prof. Dr Gunther Hellmann

Dr Heike Hennig-Schmidt

Prof. Dr Pablo Holmes

Dr Joe Hoover

Prof. Dr Jon Hovi

Prof. Meibo Huang

Dr Abou Jeng

Prof. Dr Anja Jetschke

Prof. Dr Jonathan Joseph

Dr Yannis Kallianos

Dr phil. habil. Otto Kallscheuer

Prof. Dr Babacar Kanté

Prof. Dr Ina Kerner

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

Dr Xavier Mathieu

Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

Dr Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby

Dr Elisabetta Nadalutti

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Dirk Peters

Dr Steven Pierce

Prof. Elena Pulcini

Prof. Dr Sigrid Quack

Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

Dr Galya Ruffer

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

Dr Andrea Schapper

Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

Dr Jessica Schmidt

Dr Mario Schmidt

Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

Prof. Jan Aart Scholte

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Dr Katrin Seidel

Dr Balraj K. Sidhu

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Dr Abdolkarim Soroush

Prof. Detlef Sprinz, Ph.D.

Dr Holger Straßheim

Dr Ángela Suárez-Collado

Dr Liam Swiss

Prof. Dr Christian J. Tams

Margret Thalwitz

Dr Peter Thiery

Prof. emerit. Arild Underdal

Dr rer. pol. Winfried Veit

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Prof. Dong Wang

Dr Hung-Jen Wang

Prof. Dr Herbert Wulf

Prof. Dr Dvora Yanow

Dr Fariborz Zelli

Prof. Dr Shirin Zubair