Citizenship, Equity, Rights, Community, Inclusion and Social Justice

Citizenship, Equity, Rights, Community, Inclusion and Social Justice


About Us

CERCIS research interests evolve around the question of how processes of human differentiation – race, class, gender, ability, national identity, citizenship status – emerge in a range of landscapes that include homes, streets, workplaces, and nations. We place strong emphasis on public policy, on the legal and legislative frameworks that enable social change, and on the cultural systems and practices through which normative frameworks for human actions and human relations are developed. We are particularly interested in the public negotiation of such issues. In addition to the large projects described on this site, we have a range of ongoing research projects, including graduate students theses, set in towns and cities across Canada and internationally.

Dr. Audrey Kobayashi

Principal Investigator, CERCIS Research Group
Professor and Queen’s Research Chair
Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University


A native of British Columbia, I completed a B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) at the University of British Columbia, and a PhD (1983) at UCLA. I taught in Geography and East Asian Studies at McGill University from 1983 to 1994, when I came to Queen’s, initially as Director of the Institute of Women’s Studies (1994 to 1999) and thereafter as Professor of Geography. I have spent time as a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, University College London and, most recently, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand. In 1994, I was a Fulbright Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Other positions include President of the Canadian Association of Geographers (1999-2001), Editor, People Place and Region, Annals of the Association of American Geographers. and President of the Association of American Geographers (2011−2012).

Teaching Interests

I view teaching, research, and community participation as part of a single process of learning and contributing to society. I believe that the classroom should be an open and safe place, where students can participate, think, challenge, make decisions, and be creative. I also believe that all university courses should provide an opportunity to improve reading and listening abilities, analytical skills, written and oral communication, and time management. In the classroom, I take every advantage of electronic technology both to present material in a manner that is well organized and accessible, and to make use of a variety of media of communication, including music, film and the internet. I place strong emphasis on the individual needs of students, especially in an interdisciplinary classroom where learning objectives vary. I keep an open door, and attempt to respond quickly and appropriately to students’ requests.

My course on “’Race’ and Racism” has provided the most significant challenges and rewards of my teaching career. The classroom is diverse in every way. Nearly all of the students are there because they are committed to overcoming racism, but they have very different ideas of what that objective entails. From the first day of class, it is apparent that the class is divided into students of colour, who have experienced racism, and white students, who have a variety of perspectives on what racism means and a range of degrees of comfort with the subject. This is a difficult divide to overcome, but by the end of the course, nearly everyone, no matter what their background, has developed a sense of openness and a willingness to learn and to take stock of their own positions within society. Although there is much to be learned of historical ‘fact’, and of the workings of legislation and policy documents, this is not a subject matter that can be consigned to memory. It is often emotionally challenging for a diverse group of students to work together in a large classroom and to direct their responses to the subject matter in constructive ways.

A course on “Human Migration” introduced in 2015 allows students to explore the movement of people, ideas, and things around the globe, from antiquity to the present, with a focus on immigration and immigration policy in Canada.

I also teach a graduate course on “Geographies of Citizenship.” The content varies each year with the participants, but focusses on the geographies of full and inclusive citizenship, with strong influence on theories of citizenship and spatiality.