Dr. Alison Mountz is Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration. She is affiliated with the International Migration Research Centre and cross-appointed between the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Before coming to Waterloo, Mountz was on faculty at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the 2009-2010 Mackenzie King Research Fellow with the Canada Program at Harvard University.
During academic year 2015–2016, Dr. Mountz is on leave from Wilfrid Laurier University as the 2015-2016 Wiliam Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University.
Dr. Mountz’s work explores the tension between the decisions, displacements, and desires that drive human migration and the policies and practices designed to manage migration. Her current 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 the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
In 2010 Mountz published Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border (University of Minnesota Press). In this monograph, she looks at how Canada and other countries respond to human smuggling. Seeking Asylum was awarded the 2011 Meridian Book Prize from the Association of American Geographers. She is now completing two monographs: The Enforcement Archipelago and Boats, Borders, and Bases (with Dr. Jenna Loyd). The first explores offshore interception and detention; the second documents the geographical development of the US detention system, understood through the 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. She recently completed research as Principal Investigator of the Island Detention Project (funded by a CAREER grant from the NSF), which examined the role of islands in migration enforcement off the shores of North America, Europe, and Australia. She continues research in these regions, including collaborative work with doctoral student Keegan Williams on boat losses and enforcement operations on the Mediterranean Sea.
Mountz recently began new SSHRC-funded projects on US war resisters in Canada and the use of big data to better understand human displacement.
- Director, International Migration Research Centre • Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration Geography
Wilfrid Laurier University [at Harvard University for AY 2015-2016]
Office: BSIA 248
- PhD, University of British Columbia, 2003
- MA, Hunter College-CUNY, 1998
- BA, Dartmouth College, 1995