Dr. Alison Mountz is Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration. She is Director of the International Migration Research Centre and co-edits a journal called Politics & Space (Environment & Planning C). She is cross-appointed between the School of International Policy and Governance and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Before moving to Laurier, Mountz was based at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for eight years. She also spent two years at Harvard University’s Canada Program, most recently as the 2015-2016 Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies.
Much of Mountz’s work explores how people cross borders and access migration and asylum policies. She studies the tension between the decisions, displacements, and desires that drive human migration and the policies and practices designed to ‘manage’ migration. Her recent research examines border enforcement, asylum, and detention on islands. Her work has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, the Canadian Embassy, the National Science Foundation, and Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Mountz is currently working on SSHRC-funded projects on the use of big data to better understand human displacement and on US war resister migration to Canada. The latter project involves oral history and archival research with Vietnam and Iraq era resisters. The research team has embarked on an archiving project with the War Resister Campaign, and Mountz is collaborating to make a documentary film that weaves together these two generations and histories of US war resisters in Canada.
In 2010 Mountz published Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border (University of Minnesota Press). This monograph shows how Canada and other countries respond to human smuggling. She has two new monographs forthcoming: The Enforcement Archipelago: Hidden Geographies and the Death of Asylum (Minnesota) and Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States (with Dr. Jenna Loyd, University of California Press). The first explores offshore interception and detention and the erosion of access to political asylum. The second documents the geographical development of the US detention system, understood through the racialized history of US interception of migrant ships in the Caribbean.
Dr. Mountz teaches courses and advises students researching migration and working in the fields of political, urban, and feminist geography, and international public policy and global governance.