Bangladesh displacees from river bank erosion resettled on an embankment


Doreen Marie Indra is Professor Emerita in Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. She has been involved in studies concerning immigrant, refugee, and First Nations peoples since the early 1970s. Her doctorial research at Simon Fraser University was on ethnic portrayal in BC newspapers through time, with supporting  field research on the effects of media portrayal on local Sikhs. She thereafter worked extensively with overseas Indians and other South Asians on media portrayal, issues of human rights, community structure and social history. Out of this work came a number of publications including Continuous Journey: A Social History of South Asians in Canada (coauthored with Norman Buchignani), and many academic articles. Thereafter she became centrally concerned with Indochinese refugees, both in Canada and Southeast Asia. In this, her primary areas of research concentration were: the political incorporation of women and men into the state (focusing on the discourses and practices of bureaucracies and various constituencies); public policies; and how various Southeast Asian groups have formed distinct communities and identities across Canada. Two co-edited books, Uprooting, Loss and Adaptation: The Resettlement of Indochinese Refugees in Canada and Ten Years Later: Indochinese Communities in Canada, and a number of academic articles have resulted from this research. She followed this with an initial year’s fieldwork in rural Bangladesh and subsequent research there, where she has been investigating how rural landless people understand and cope with environmentally-forced migration. She is also currently doing comparative work on gender and forced migration; on cultural citizenship focusing on mass-mediated and other representations of gender and ethnicity; and on the organization of knowledge and social action. Her edited book, Engendering Forced Migration: Theory and Practice was a groundbreaking work on forced migration and gender.

Norman Buchignani is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. Norman Buchignani is a sociocultural anthropologist and theorist who has done research in places ranging from Edmonton to Bangladesh over a period spanning thirty years. His involvement in South Asian Canadian studies began with his doctoral thesis at Simon Fraser University, which was an investigation of newly emerging Fijian Indian community structure in Vancouver. This work led to a greater appreciation of the role of historical context in forming immigration, and so to increasing interest in Asian Canadian history, especially that of Sikhs and other early migrants. He was also deeply involved in the rise of Canadian Asian studies and with research on the reduction of ethnic conflict. These all laid the groundwork for initiating Continuous Journey (1985), a history of South Asians in Canada coauthored by Doreen Indra. During the 1980s and into the 1990s his main research focus was primarily on contemporary Canadian race and ethnic relations, with a continued focus on South Asians. Thereafter, he was primarily involved in research with Doreen Indra on environmentally forced migrants in Bangladesh, and on early European traveler portrayal of Khoikhoi, the so-called ‘Hottentots’ of South Africa.