Alison Mountz

Dr. Alison Mountz is Associate 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.   

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, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Metropolis Project. 

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. 

Dr. Mountz teaches courses and advises students researching migration and political geography. She also serves as Principal Investigator of the Island Detention Project (funded by a CAREER grant from the NSF), which examines the role of islands in migration enforcement off the shores of North America, Europe, and Australia.



Select Publications

  • Mountz, A & N Hiemstra (2013) Chaos and crisis: dissecting the spatio-temporal logics of contemporary migrations and state practices. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2013.857547
  • Mountz, A (2013) Political Geography I: Reconfiguring geographies of sovereignty. Progress in Human Geography 37(6): 829-841.
  • Mountz, A, K Coddington, RT Catania, J Loyd (2013) Conceptualizing detention: Mobility, containment, bordering, and exclusion. Progress in Human Geography 37(4): 522-541.
  • Mountz, A (2013) On mobilities and migrations. D. Moran, N. Gill, D. Conlon (eds), Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 13-18.
  • Mountz, A (2012) Mapping remote detention: dis/location through isolation. J. Loyd, M. Mitchelson, A. Burridge (eds), Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis. Athens: University of Georgia, pp. 91-104.
  • Mountz, A & L Briskman (2012) Introducing Island Detentions: The placement of asylum seekers and migrants on islands. Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures 6(2): 21-26.
  • Ashutosh, I & A Mountz (2012) The geopolitics of migrant mobility: tracing state relations through refugee claims, boats, and discourses. Geopolitics 17(2): 335-354.
  • Mountz, A. (2011) "The enforcement archipelago: detention, haunting, and asylum on islands." 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.

Academic/Professional Awards

  • Meridian Book Prize from the Association of American Geographers for Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border, 2011
  • 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