Dean, Karin
The Estonian Institute of Humanities (EIH), Tallinn University (TU), Estonia
Brief bio :
Karin Dean, a political geographer, earned her Ph.D. (2003) at the National University of Singapore researching the Kachin spatial practices at the Sino-Myanmar border. She worked as an independent researcher, reporter and consultant based in Thailand during 1999-2007 for various media and international organizations, including the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Currently, she is a senior researcher at the Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University. Her research focuses on Southeast Asian mainland, particularly on territorial and symbolic borders as these help to construct or deconstruct political identities at the time of intensifying globalization, emergent regionalisms and localisms. Her focus is on practices that may circumvent or bend the knowledge informed by laws of citizenship and sovereignty, or the dominating discourses on ethnicity and state nationalism, instead exploring the fluid, spatial and non-spatial identities within and across political scales and borders.
Individual Project :

Mobilities is the central notion in Karin Dean’s research, viewed as the spatiality of movements of people and ideas and as an integral part of the contextual political identities in the continuous remaking of the socio-political orders. Mobilities in the research are not so much about meaning than about various movements both in time and space. Following Sassen’s (2006) construct of capabilities as the collective productions, which development over time entails making, competition, and conflicts, the research identifies mobilities as the defining feature (and capability) within the Kachin society and their contentious politics. The research demonstrates how mobilities have been inseparable from the ways how the Kachin sustain and adopt themselves to the ever changing social, political and economic conditions – particularly to the emergence of the Kachin as an important political subject in the contentious politics in Myanmar and to the on-going politico-economic reforms in Myanmar that are unleashing new types of forces and movements.

Mobilities as a tool helps to theoretically conceptualize various concerns such as negotiating scales, cross-border cultural continuities, identities on the move, role of space and spatiality.