Geopolitics

Pablo Bose, Ph.D.

Name: Pablo Bose

Education:

  • Ph.D. Environmental Studies, York University (2006)

  • M.A. Communications, Simon Fraser University (2000)

  • B.A. English Honors, University of British Columbia (1995)

With UVM Since: 2006

Title: Associate Professor/Director

Department/College: Geography/Global and Regional Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Research areas/interests:

  • Migration

  • Refugees

  • Political Ecology

  • Cities

  • Diaspora


Interview Summary

Dr. Bose has been working on refugee-related projects and research for the past 20 years. He first became interested in issues of forced migration while visiting India back in 1990, where he saw a great deal of concern regarding the displacement of villagers from the Narmada Valley due to the building of a dam. He would eventually write his MA thesis in 2000 on this situation and became increasingly involved in the anti-globalization movement in the late 1990s. During his PhD, he became the coordinator of a project on forced migration as a result of development that looked at different cases all across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. Bose also served as a staff member at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto, where he was very involved with both research projects and community-based efforts looking at refugee integration in the city, especially in terms of issues such as racial profiling by police, educational opportunities, and food sovereignty and cultural production.

Currently, Dr. Bose is working on three projects related to refugees. The first is a study funded by the National Science Foundation that looks at resettlement in smaller towns and cities in the US with a focus on the impacts on both refugees and on receiving communities. The second is a comparative analysis of refugee policies and resettlement outcomes in Canada, the US and the Scandinavian countries with a particular examination of Syrian resettlement over the past few years. The third focuses on forced migration and displacement, specifically within deltaic regions (such as Bangladesh, Tanzania and Vietnam) as a result of climate change. He also has several related projects that are either completed or ongoing in terms of refugees and transportation and refugee agriculture.

While he is not the first within his field to study refugee related issues, Dr. Bose says that geography is not the dominant discipline within migration studies. This is especially true in looking at resettlement or refugees through integration, though there is more work looking at forced migration and displacement in geography. For the most part, according to Bose, refugee studies has tended to be dominated by policy work and legal analysis (especially when it comes to protection), sociology (mostly in the realm of integration), anthropology (on migrant lives and transnationalism), and economics (costs and benefits as well as things like remittances). Geographic approaches have begun to literally map migrant journeys, the constitution of spaces due to forced migration, and spaces of exclusion and detention amongst others. Dr. Bose believes that spatial analysis can help better understand the “where” of refugee displacement and resettlement – not only the “how” and “why”, but the particular places in which we see dislocation and resettlement occurring, how these “wheres” are constituted, contested, and transformed, and how they have produced new subjectivities and politics.

When asked about his thoughts on the benefits of approaching the refugee crisis from a multi-disciplinary perspective, Bose responded, “As someone who has been trained in two interdisciplinary graduate programs and who teaches in a multidisciplinary department, I absolutely see a number of benefits in approaching the study of (and hopefully intervention into) the refugee crisis from multiple perspectives. Such an approach remains open to various perspectives and ways of understanding these experiences and the structures that have developed around them rather than being dogmatic about a particular ideology to frame our analysis.” He hopes that more resources and attention will be devoted to refugee issues going forward, building on the increased visibility of refugee issues he has noticed in recent years within the field of geography.

As for future projects relating to refugees, Dr. Bose would like to continue to build collaborative and interdisciplinary teams– both with colleagues at UVM and with community based partners. He is especially interested in developing projects on local health and educational outcomes in resettlement sites. For students wanting to work with refugees or get involved with refugee related research, Dr. Bose advises that they “Take the time to listen and learn from the communities you want to work with, determine what are their priorities and interests, and be mindful of the politics you are wading into and what the impacts of the work you seek to do might be.”


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