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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Korina M. Jocson

Second Advisor

Cristine A. Smith

Third Advisor

Léonce Ndikumana

Fourth Advisor

Chalais (Cee) Carter

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Africana Studies | Development Studies | Educational Methods | Ethnic Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International and Comparative Education | Migration Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Welfare


Using poetics, stories, and methalis interspersed throughout this dissertation, I lay out some of the complexities of forced migration, refugee resettlement and governance within the neoliberal world. The dissertation makes the case that in the United States (US), neoliberal policies and ideologies and their attendant processes within the refugee resettlement framework perpetuate dispossession and dehumanization of refugees. With a critical focus on economic self-sufficiency, a primary objective of federal refugee resettlement organizations and collaborating partners, the dissertation engages with empirical material from refugee interlocutors, resettlement support volunteers and personnel, as well as resettlement policy texts and documents. The dissertation explores the realities of a racialized state welfare system currently functioning on market-based solutions, revealing how refugee economic self-sufficiency operates within a racial grammar that re/constructs and re/produces refugees as labor and “Other” in the US labor formation. This dissertation makes the case that economic self-sufficiency, as framed within resettlement policies and processes, is a paradox and short-sighted construct that limits refugees from rebuilding their lives. Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship and schools of thought—black Studies and black feminist thought—the dissertation critically examines empirical material and policy text to interrogate process and practices that facilitate refugee economic self-sufficiency. Theoretically and methodologically, this dissertation reveals how black studies and black feminist thought offer openings and possibilities to learn about liberatory practices that refugees engage in during processes of resettlement. Diverging from the dehumanizing logics that currently shape resettlement in the US, the dissertation elucidates that within refugee experiences and diasporic living, exist pedagogies of resettlement that can be adopted to unsettle neoliberal policies, colonial logics, and racial codes that position refugees in the lower hierarchies of the US society.


Available for download on Tuesday, February 01, 2028