Ei Phyu Smith
I completed my PhD at the Department of Geography at York University in Toronto, Canada in July 2015 have an active research program in the field of Feminist Political Geography. My dissertation, entitled To Build a Home: The Material Cultures, Gender Relations and the Cultivation of Meaning by Karen Refuges from Burma, examines how displaced individuals of Karen ethnicity from Burma engage with the notion of home at multiple sites of dispossession, from the refugee encampments in Thailand to being resettled in Canada. I consider how their relationship to food, material cultures and gender relations influence their creation of place. My research program broadly focuses on the fields of feminist geography, political geography and migration and displacement studies.
My current research examines the transnational meanings of home by members of the Burmese Diaspora returning to work in the current political landscape in Myanmar. I am also interrogating the role of civil society in a time of political transition through the study of how these migrants are engaging with a rapidly changing cultural milieu that is being shaped by the greater political freedom. This research will contribute to the call for deeper theoretical understanding of transnational meanings of home and aim to inform policies that address the needs of citizens who maintain ties with multiple nation-states.
I continued to develop my interest in geopolitical processes through my internship at the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights in 2015 at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which seeks to further gendered perspectives in the management of conflict and peace-building initiatives. I currently live in Andover, Massachusetts with my family.
Keywords: Feminist geography; political geography; migration and displacement studies; Burmese Diaspora