Research Interests

Hyndman’s research traverses political, economic, cultural and feminist dimensions of migration, focusing on people's mobility, displacement, and security. Her scholarship is particularly concerned with the dynamics of conflict and disaster that create refugees and displacement more generally, as well as international humanitarian responses to such crises. Hyndman’s work on humanitarianism examines the intersection of conflict with the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, as well as the geopolitics of aid at various scales in these locations. Her work analyzes geographies of refugee settlement, exclusion, containment, and the production of 'securitized' space both in the Global South and in North America.

Current and Recent Projects

Based at the Centre for Refugee Studies, Hyndman is involved in a number of team research projects:

2016-2021   “Refugee integration and long-term health outcomes in Canada”; CIHR Hyndman co-applicant and lead for BC; PI M. Hynie

2016-2017   “The sponsor's perspective: motivations, expectations and experiences of private sponsors”, SSHRC Rapid Response PI A. Macklin; JH co-app;

2016-2017   “Ethical guidelines for research with refugees”, SSHRC Rapid Response Grant, collaborator; PI C. Clark-Kazak; Hyndman Collaborator.

2015-2017   “Building Bridges across Social and Computational Sciences: Using Big Data to Inform Humanitarian and Policy Interventions,” SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, S. McGrath P.I., J. Hyndman co-app.

Private Refugee Resettlement in Canada (2017-2021)

A new grant from SSHRC will examine what characteristics of people, place, and community have allowed private, citizen-led refugee sponsorships to continue for almost four decades. A specific focus on sponsorship groups that have been engaged continuously for ten years or more aims to document the requisite conditions and relationships that make refugee sponsorship led by civil society sustainable.
Until very recently, Canada was the only country with such a citizen-led scheme, both financed and supported by volunteer sponsors. In 2016, in conjunction with UNHCR, the Open Society Foundation, and Radcliffe Foundation, the Canadian Government launched the ‘Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative’ to share this model of refugee resettlement with the world.

In 2017 a research brief with William Payne and Shauna Jimenez (PDF) was published, and a short review on private sponsorship appeared in Forced Migration Review.

Politics, Identity, and Belonging in Diaspora

This project traces the contours of the Sri Lanka Tamil diaspora in Greater Toronto. Canada hosts the single largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the world, with other large groups in Britain, Norway, and Australia. In May 2009, the military conflict ended between the rebel Tamil Tigers (aka LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka but not without an extraordinary humanitarian disaster and much loss of life among Tamil civilians who were caught in the cross-fire and tactics of the conflict. Peace remains elusive.

The study probes the following questions: in the context of Greater Toronto, what attachments to place do Tamil-identified people, both those born in Sri Lanka and their children born in Canada, have? How do the attachments of first generation of immigrants and refugees from Sri Lanka compare to those born in Canada? How, if at all, is identity influenced by the human rights atrocities of May 2009? While the research is complete, much remains to be written up.

Geographies of Humanitarianism

Hyndman’s main contribution to the humanitarian literature is Dual Disasters, a 2011 book that examines the connections between war-related displacement in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia with that of the 2004 tsunami.  In a 2017, workshop presentation in Heidelberg, Hyndman explored the principles and politics of ‘humanitarian government’, the visibility of certain disasters over others, and the uneven geographies of responses (see image below).