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  • Writer's pictureStephanie J. Silverman


My last big contribution to CARFMS as outgoing-VP is to organize a series of workshops for postgraduate students across Canada.With the CARFMS Annual Conference postponed to October 2021, the workshops are meant to support, uplift, validate, create community, and offer feedback. I wanted to ensure CARFMS reaches out to, connects with, and supports the research of emerging scholars.

On 01 April 2021, I co-organized the first workshop: CARFMS Meets: International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) with Prof. Alison Mountz. Based at Wilfrid Laurier University in southern Ontario, the IMRC serves as a node of excellence in scholarship and research, social and cultural debate and policy formulation pertaining to international migration.

We designed the innovative format to support and offer feedback to graduate students working on issues related to migration and mobilities. We assigned one CARFMS affiliate to serve as discussant for each of the four presenters.

Themes included the inheritance of colonial knowledges in refugee law, theory, and settlement practices; the overlapping and interrelated intersections of gender, health, and trauma; how to tease out American from Canada policies towards asylum seekers along the shared border; and, importantly for all researchers, how to strategically plan and carry out ethical methodologies during an era of COVID-19, austerity, and unequal relations of power and access.

Highlights included:

Rosemary Kimani-Dupuis presenting her PhD research on the mental health of refugee women resettled from Africa in Canada. Rosemary’s intervening in global health, refugee studies and women’s studies by focusing on 3 areas of research gaps: health intersectionalities; gender violence and race; and the last impacts of trauma. Rosemary is drawing on her research to make new bridges across studying and alleviating refugee trauma, geographies of violence & vulnerability, and respect for human rights.

Kate Motluk presented a novel historical and analytic comparison of detention regimes across settler-colonial contexts. She is interested in comparing Australia and Canada’s responses to incarceration of Indigenous peoples and non-citizens. Policymakers limited but did not abolish imprisonment during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite clear arguments for public health in favour of doing so. Kate urges that we understand these practices are “punitive in the name of ‘protection’”.


Monica Romero presenting some findings from her PhD research on the experiences of asylum seekers crossing the US-Canada border, particularly in relation to restrictions imposed by the Safe Third Country Agreement. Monica here argued that colonial categories of membership and refugeeness continue to animate law and policy. She also analysed safety determination practices as strategies to control access. Drawing on Nancy Hiemstra’s conceptualization of reverberations, Monica paid particular attention to recent changes to the structure of refugee and crime adjudication, including the creation of the Ministry of Border Security and organized crime.

IMRC Policy Points XVI, a discussion by Monica Romero of policy responses impacting irregular migration and migrants' settlement in Canada, is now available.

Ana Visan presented a preliminary exploration of her PhD project on how immigration and enforcement civil servants understand their roles and how technology influences this relationship, the management of people, and the ongoing “spaces of exception” in refugee deterrence and detection practices. Anna noted how the European Union is strengthening its governance of technology policies while, at the same time, deploying a range of unaccountable technology at the border to repel asylum seekers. Drawing on “Roborder” as a potential case study, Ana’s work will push for better regulations of States’ uses of technology in “managing” migration.

MANY THANKS to the IMRC's Shiva Mohan and Abbas Iman, the time and energy of the student presenters and CARFMS affiliates who served as discussants, and Margaret Walton Roberts who chaired the discussion brilliantly.

If your group is interested in a “CARFMS Meets…” session, please reach out to me!


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