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Patricia Ehrkamp to Deliver A&S Distinguished Professor Lecture April 21

By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2022) — Patricia Ehrkamp, professor and chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky, is serving as the 2021-22 College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Professor and will deliver the annual Distinguished Professor Lecture on Thursday, April 21.

Throughout her time at UK, Ehrkamp has established herself as a renowned educator, mentor and researcher.

“Receiving this distinguished professorship is a huge honor, and deeply humbling. I am grateful to my talented and dedicated colleagues in the College of Arts & Sciences for recognizing my work in this way.”

The lecture titled, “Geopolitics of Disability and the Horizon of Refuge,” will begin at 7 p.m. and will be offered in-person and via Zoom.

Geographic studies of migration have resoundingly demonstrated the pathways for people on the move are not simple linear trajectories, but routinely involve circuitous routes that may be repeated and often involve a great deal of waiting on paperwork, at border crossings, in detention and in refugee camps.

“While refugee resettlement offers a hope for durable refuge for some, the naturalization process itself can become another moment of great uncertainty,” said Ehrkamp, whose lecture will focus on collaborative research conducted in four resettlement sites across the U.S.

Ehrkamp’s lecture highlights the importance of providing refuge to those who have been displaced by war and conflict, while also emphasizing how the complex bureaucracies of resettlement and naturalization create potentially traumatizing experiences for refugees.

As an accomplished feminist and political geographer, Ehrkamp’s research considers the politics of immigration with a focus on refugee geopolitics and trauma, as well as belonging, citizenship and exclusion in the spaces of everyday life in the United States and Europe.

Ehrkamp’s work has received national and international recognition — appearing in leading journals, including the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Urban Geography, Progress in Human Geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Space and Polity, Environment and Planning A, and Social & Cultural Geography.

Currently, Ehrkamp is working on a project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which analyzes the important role of post-traumatic stress disorder in admitting and resettling Iraqi refugees in the U.S. She also recently worked on another NSF-funded project, which examined the complex and changing geographies of immigration and belonging for communities of faith in the context of recent immigration and anti-immigrant legislation.

Ehrkamp, who is also dedicated to serving students, teaches undergraduate courses on Immigrant America and qualitative research methods. At the graduate level, she convenes seminars in social theory, social geography and political geography, among others.

“Professor Ehrkamp is an exceptional teacher and academic advisor. She teaches across the curriculum, holds NSF grants with her graduate students, created a UK core course on Immigrant America and has developed an online graduate certificate and master’s degree program in applied environmental and sustainability studies,” Christian Brady, former interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said in a previous release. “Her service to the university has helped cultivate a more inclusive and supportive work environment to create spaces of belonging in which faculty and students can thrive.”

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more here.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.