Dr. Alison Mountz is Associate Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration. After completing her PhD in geography at the University of British Columbia in 2003, she spent eight years on faculty in the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She was the 2009-2010 Mackenzie King Research Fellow with the Canada Program at Harvard University. She is cross-appointed between the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Dr. Mountz's work explores the tension between the decisions and desires that drive human migration and the policies and practices designed to manage immigration. Her current research examines struggles over border enforcement, asylum, and detention. Her research has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, the Canadian Embassy, the National Science Foundation, and the Metropolis Project.
In 2010 Mountz published Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border (University of Minnesota Press). The book offers an ethnography of the state that looks at how Canada and other countries respond to human smuggling with changes in border enforcement. Seeking Asylum was awarded the 2011 Meridian Book Prize from the Association of American Geographers.
Dr. Mountz teaches courses and advises students doing research on migration and political geography. She also serves as Principal Investigator of the isalnd detentions project, which is funded by a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. Thousands of migrants are intercepted at sea each year while trying to reach sovereign territory to make an asylum claim. Many are held in detention on islands where their legal status is often unclear. Mountz directs a research team that examines detention facilities located on islands off the shores of North America, Europe, and Australia.
- Mountz, A. (2011) "Islands as enforcement archipelago: haunting, sovereignty, and asylum." Politicial Geography 30:118-128.
- Mountz, A. (2011) "Where asylum-seekers wait: feminist counter-topographies of sites between states." Gender, Place and Culture 18 (3): 381-399.
- Mountz, A. (2011) "Spectres at the Port of Entry: Understanding State Mobilities through an Ontology of Exclusion." Mobilities 6 (3): 317-334.
- Mountz, A. (2011) "Border politics: spatial provision and geographical precision." Political Geography 30 (2): 65-66.
- Mountz, A. (2010) Seeking asylum: human smuggling and bureaucracy at the border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- Meridian Book Prize from the Association of American Geographers for Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border, 2010
- Stanley D. Brunn Young Scholar Award from the Association of American Geographers' Specialty group in Political Geography, 2010
- Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award, Syracuse University, 2009
- Faculty & Staff Inspiration Award, Syracuse University, 2006
- Chancellor's Award for Public Service, Syracuse University, 2006