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Faculty Member Lesley Bartlett and Alumna Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher to Receive CIES National Book Award

Refugees, Immigrants and Education in the Global South, which includes six chapters authored or coauthored by TC graduates or doctoral students, questions the distinctions between "immigrant" and "refugee."

Lesley Bartlett, Associate Professor of Education, and Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher (Ed.D. '08), a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive the 2014 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award from the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) for  Refugees, Immigrants and Education in the Global South (Routledge, 2013). Six of the fifteen chapters in the volume were authored or co-authored by graduates or doctoral students from Teachers College.

The Kirk Award was created in 2010 to honor the professional life of Jackie Kirk, a McGill University faculty member killed in Afghanistan while on a humanitarian aid mission, and her deep commitments to work on gender and education and education in conflict. The award will be formally presented to Bartlett, Ghaffar-Kucher, and affiliated authors next week at the 2010 CIES meeting in Toronto.

The award committee members called Refugees, Immigrants, and Education in the Global South “an important contribution to the debate on education and migration,” calling it “theoretically sophisticated, well developed and intellectually coherent” and praising it for drawing upon “rich ethnographic research approaches”  and contributing
“a wealth of new insights into the cross-cutting issues of gender, education, migration and conflict.”   

In the words of nominator Erin Murphy-Graham of the University of California at Berkeley, a key contention of Refugees, Immigrants, and Education in the Global South is that “the definition of who ‘counts’ as a refugee is in need of serious attention.” She praises the book for identifying “a vital new line of inquiry within the fields of education, migration, and development studies: migration and education” and for examining “the role of schooling in incorporating or further marginalizing (im)migrant and displaced populations.”

“In their introduction to the volume, Bartlett and Ghaffar-Kucher argue that the distinction between immigrant and refugee is overstated and that ethnographic attention to the ‘lived experiences of mobile people reveals the permeability of these categories,’” Murphy writes. “In their own words, ‘conventional thought assumes that a refugee is pushed out of his or her country by political concerns, whereas an immigrant or migrant is pulled to another country, largely by economic motivations. Documented refugees may receive support from resettlement agencies in the form of economic support, employment services, education, and psychological services, whereas immigrants and undocumented refugees are largely left to fend for themselves, unless they are fortunate enough to find NGOs offering such assistance.’ Thus, the process of denying or granting refugee status is fraught with complications and shaped by political decisions.”

Published Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014


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