Araby Smyth

  • PhD Candidate
  • Instructor
  • Geography
822 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-6992
Other Affiliations:
  • Community Economies Research Network
  • Relational Poverty Network
  • The Society of Women Geographers
  • Association of American Geographers
  • Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca
Research Interests:
MA Geography, Hunter College of the City University of New York 2015
Certificate in Geographic Information Science, Hunter College of the City University of New York 2015
BA Political Science, Hunter College of the City University of New York 2006

I am a PhD candidate and instructor in the department. Before moving to Lexington I lived in Brooklyn and attended Hunter College. While studying at Hunter I was an intern at the Center for Migration Studies and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and I worked in the GIS lab at Baruch College. I was also a part of a network of researchers contributing to the project Mapping the Solidarity Economy.


I study remittances, the money or goods sent by migrants to their families and friends in their place of origin. My dissertation is about the point of negotiation where women’s agency and remittance governance intersect in southwest Mexico. Whether it is in the household or in a town, the process of allocating remittances is gendered. I am interested in how remittances are shaped by and in turn shape social relations, and the role of women as decision-makers in remittance governance.

This research is funded by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Competitive Graduate Fellowship at the University of Kentucky.

My geography MA thesis, analyzed how Mexican hometown associations in New York City engage in solidarity through ethical economic practices of collective remittance sending and community service provision in New York City. Drawing on feminist literature on diverse economies, I argued that the solidarity work of hometown associations disrupts the dominant remittance as development discourse and is an attempt by migrants to distance themselves from neoliberal remittance policies.

In addition to my dissertation, I am working on two other projects that focus on student life in the neoliberal university. The first is with Jess Linz: we are looking at how feminist graduate students support new ways of being in the face of competition, scarcity, and patriarchy. See our call for contributions and a video of us talking about the feminist coven. The second is with Rory Barron: using interviews, oral history, and film, we are analyzing responses to the 2016 presidential election and activism on the University of Kentucky’s campus.


GEO 324 Geography of Central and South America and the Caribbean
GEO 323 Mexico Environment, Politics & Society

Teaching Assistant:
GEO 221 Immigrant America
GEO 109 Digital Mapping

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