Professor Bidisha Biswas Joins the Centre

Addressing Gaps in the Linkages Between National, Regional, and International Cooperation in South Asia

Professor Dr Bidisha Biswas has joined the Centre as a Senior Research Fellow and will be working in the ‘Global Cooperation and Diverse Conceptions of World Order’ research group from May 1 2021 until 30 April 2022. Bidisha is a professor of Political Science at Western Washington University in Washington, USA and holds a PhD. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Through her project, The Global Refugee Regime: Contested Norms and Fragmented Cooperation, Professor Biswas aims to investigate how contestations over norms affect cooperation on refugee governance, specifically in reference to refugee situations in South Asia. The project is informed by both professional and personal interest in the subject matter and will approach both historical and contemporary dimensions of refugee governance. Bidisha possesses a wealth of professional experience both as a scholar of migration governance, as well as first-hand work as a policy advisor on democracy and human rights with the U.S. Department of State. Familial experience of migration within the Global South also contributes a nuanced perspective toward understanding how migration policy operates in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Professor Biswashas written extensively on how migration policy in South Asia differs from that of Africa and South America. For example, South Asia is distinctive in its near-total lack of treaty-based participation in the global refugee regime – while needs are high, regional mechanisms for burden-sharing are virtually non-existent. Furthermore, she has observed that state-level discourse on refugees in South Asian countries is dominated by narrowly-defined national interests and domestic political agendas. Bidisha’s research project represents an attempt to elaborate on the specific dynamics of these proceedings. During her tenure at the Centre she seeks to bolster the understanding of normative contestations and global cooperation in refugee governance and combine it with policy-relevant insights.

Bidisha will contribute to the next Quarterly Magazine and will be on the panel of the upcoming Global Migration Lecture on July 6 as a commentator.