Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Race, and Identity in the College of Liberal Arts Deborah Boehm received one of this year’s University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Professor Awards. This annual award recognizes tenured professors with an excellent teaching and scholarly record, who have national prominence in their field and a demonstrated record of service to the University.
Boehm has been teaching at the University for 15 years and hasn’t veered from her dedication to research and teaching since she started. She certainly has exceeded sustained achievement as outlined by the award requirements and undoubtedly will surpass the promise of continued excellence.
“I’m honored to receive this recognition, especially because it signals the ways the University values publicly engaged scholarship and research that goes beyond the academy,” Boehm said.
Currently, Boehm is on two years of research leave as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Her work focuses on the U.S. immigration detention system and the growing social movement to end immigration detention and all forms of incarceration.
Boehm’s research has taken her to communities at the border and throughout the United States to witness first-hand the imprisonment of immigrants and asylum seekers, and to study how the U.S. immigration detention system extends transnationally. She has interviewed people directly impacted by detention and has conducted participatory research with partner organizations working to dismantle immigration detention.
“I’ve witnessed the power of collective action as people from across the country — people in detention and their loved ones, formerly detained people, immigrant advocates, lawyers and others — come together to bring about change and to make their communities places that value and ensure liberation for all human beings,” Boehm said.
Boehm has conducted research with immigrant families and communities for decades. Based on this work, she sees a pressing need to produce public scholarship about social injustice and forms of activism that focus on human dignity.
The research Boehm participates in informs what and how she teaches. She appreciates her time spent with students in and outside of the classroom, as it always provides new insights.
“I encourage students to think critically about power and injustice, to use their education to reimagine systems of oppression and to take action to make change,” Boehm said.
Boehm said she enjoys collaborating with students, research participants, colleagues and other partners as she did earlier in the school year when UNR hosted Hostile Terrain 94 and En Medio: Senses of Migration at The Lilley.
In addition, Boehm has a book under contract — coedited with colleague Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar, associate professor of anthropology — that explores different forms of return migration and how people move across borders, or are prevented from doing so, in the current moment.
Boehm plans to use her new status as foundation professor to continue her commitment to ongoing collaborative research and to share research findings widely.