Elizabeth Cullen Dunn is a professor of geography at Indiana University Bloomington. An anthropologist and geographer, Dunn studies refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum seekers. She has conducted research on forced migration for more than a decade in the Republic of Georgia, Greece, Germany, and the United States. Her most recent book, No Path Home: Humanitarian Camps and the Grief of Displacement (2018), focuses on the long-term effects of humanitarian aid on the people it purports to serve, and argues that humanitarian aid can trap people in perpetual uncertainty. Dunn is also one of ΦBK’s 2020-2021 Visiting Scholars.
Due to the pandemic, all Visiting Scholar visits for this academic year are virtual. In late September, the ΦBK chapter at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, hosted Dunn for a virtual two-day visit, where she participated in class visits, had discussions with the International Student Association and Brown Fellows, and gave a public lecture called “The Global Refugee Crisis: Why People Are on the Move.”
“I think that Elizabeth Cullen Dunn’s visit to Centre exemplifies the value of the ΦBK Visiting Scholar program to small liberal arts colleges,” said Peggy Richey, professor of biology and chair of the Visiting Scholar Committee of Centre’s ΦBK chapter. “In just two days she greatly deepened and expanded the perspective of the campus community on critical, current issues and engaged in meaningful and productive conversations on how to effectively address these issues.”
Professors commented on the captivating classroom discussions between Dunn and their students and her willingness to serve as a mentor to those who are interested in working with refugees. Her guidance on graduate studies and internships in her field was invaluable, and she encouraged students to stay in touch with her as they continued their scholarly and professional journeys.
Reflecting on her experience, Dunn said, “I had a delightful visit to Centre College. Even via Zoom, it was easy to see how engaged and committed Centre College students are and how many provocative and interesting questions they have. Working with refugees can sometimes be dispiriting, but when you see young people who are so willing to get out there and make a difference in people’s lives, hope comes rushing back.”
Dunn’s other visits this year include Loyola University Maryland and the University of Idaho. She also appears on an upcoming episode of Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa.
Learn more about ΦBK’s Visiting Scholars at www.pbk.org/VisitingScholars. The 2021-2022 Visiting Scholars will be announced in February 2021.