Nancy Hiemstra

Assistant Professor, Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Trained as a political and cultural geographer, my scholarship broadly examines ways in which immigration policies shape patterns and socio-cultural consequences of human mobility within and across international borders. My research interests include immigration enforcement practices, homeland security, the role of race and immigration in national identity, and feminist epistemology and methodologies. One ongoing project focuses on the reverberations of U.S. migrant detention and deportation practices in countries of migrant origin (through ethnographic research in Ecuador), and critically considers the relationship between ideas of homeland security and daily experiences of insecurity. The findings and arguments developed through this work have been published in a number of journals and edited collections, and are the subject of a book manuscript in process, tentatively titled: Detain and Deport: A Transnational Ethnography of U.S. Immigration Enforcement. Another project (with Dr. Deirdre Conlon of Leeds University) investigates the “intimate economies” of detention facilities in the greater New York City area, examining the micro-scale economies that develop in and around detention. We argue that consideration of how these relationships interlock with the privatization of carceral environments as well as processes of bureaucratization sheds important light on the expansion of detention regimes around the U.S. as well as globally. We have published several articles and chapters, and co-edited a volume with contributions about detention around the world, Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention: Critical Perspectives (Routledge, 2016). A third area of research investigates ways in which shifts in immigrant destinations are transforming social and political landscapes in the United States. I draw on fieldwork in small-town Colorado to explore ways in which constructions of “illegality” shape immigrant and non-immigrant interactions. Finally, my teaching considers the gendered socio-spatial relations and political realities of individual places, while emphasizing global interconnectedness between communities, regions, and nations.