Nancy Hiemstra

I am a political and cultural geographer, with interests in global migration, immigration enforcement policies and practices, homeland security, Latin America, and feminist methodologies.

My ethnographically-based research broadly examines ways in which state policies shape patterns and socio-cultural consequences of human mobility. An ongoing project identifies the embodied consequences of destination countries’ immigration enforcement policies in countries of migrant origin. It focuses on the reverberations of U.S. migrant detention and deportation practices 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  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space,  Geopolitics, a co-authored piece in  Annals of the Association of American Geographers, a co-authored chapter in  A Companion to Border Studies, and a chapter in  Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention. This research is also 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) 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 articles with initial findings in Geographica Helvetica; Territory, Politics, Governance, and have several chapters in edited books. Deirdre Conlon and I also edited a volume with contributions about detention around the world, Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention: Critical Perspectives, Routledge, 2016.

Finally, I am committed to engaging in work that reaches a broader public audience, specifically related to pressing contemporary issues to do with immigration and policy. Recently, I have written two opinion pieces for the Huffington Post and an article for NACLA Report on the Americas, and I have participated in a number of teach-ins regarding changing immigration policy and the current political climate.