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Dena Aufseeser

AufseeserDena Aufseeser, Ph.D., University of Washington, 2012
Assistant Professor
211-K Sondheim Hall


Research Interests

Critical poverty studies, urban geography, international development, children’s geographies and children’s rights

Recent Research Activities

My research is largely concerned with questions related to child poverty and inequality in a range of spaces.   While development organizations such as the World Bank have been critiqued for presenting spatial imaginations of other people and places that provide ‘truths’ about how the world should be, the way in which children’s rights organizations and ideologies shape the governance of poverty has not been subject to the same analysis.  In my research, I examine 1) the ways in which children’s rights discourse not only contradicts but also complements neoliberal economic development strategies 2) how poor children are disciplined and policed and the way these processes are linked to various notions of childhood, development and progress, and 3) how children themselves challenge and rework such ideas through their daily actions. Much of my current research takes place with working and street children in cities in Peru.

I am expanding my research to understand how some of these same processes play out in Baltimore, MD.  City and state officials are actively working to redevelop Baltimore, and the city also has a growing immigrant presence.  But it is not clear how these developmental changes affect the children living in neighborhoods slated for redevelopment, as well as children who have more recently arrived.  My research will look at how young people make sense of the changes going on around them, and also rework or reshape perceptions of urban space, poverty and development.  My research aims to draw connections between questions of poverty and inequality across multiple spaces and scales.

Recent Publications

Aufseeser, D. 2014. “Control, protection and rights: a critical review of Peru’s begging bill” International Journal of Children’s Rights.

Aufseeser, D. 2014. “Protecting Street Children? Urban revitalization and regulation in Lima Peru.” Urban Geography.

Aufseeser, D. 2014. “Limiting spaces of informal learning among street children in Peru.” In Informal Education, Childhood and Youth. Palgrave.

Aufseeser, D. 2014. “The problems of child labor and education in Peru: A critical analysis of ‘universal’ approaches to youth development.” In A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century. Brill.

Other publications

Aufseeser, D., Jekielek, S., & Brown, B. (2006). The Family Environment and Adolescent Wellbeing: Exposure to Positive and Negative Family Influences. Research Brief series.  San Francisco:  National Adolescent Health Information Center.

Grace, C., Shores, E., Zaslow, M., Brown, B. & Aufseeser, D. (2006). “New clues to reaching very young children and families in rural America.” Zero to Three, 26(4): 7-13.

Grace, C., Shores, E., Zaslow, M., Brown, B., Aufseeser, D. and Bell, L. (2006). Rural Disparities in  Baseline Data of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: A Chartbook.   National Center for Early Childhood Learning Initiatives. Mississippi State University.

Brown, B. & Aufseeser, D. (2005). Internet-based Children’s Data Users Perceptions of KIDS COUNT. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Recent Presentations

January 2015. Presenter. Contradictions in Children’s Rights: Participation, child labor and international organizing. Geographies of Children, Youth and Families International Conference, San Diego, CA.

October 2014. Presenter. Representations of Child Poverty. Relational Poverty Conference, Seattle, WA.

August 2014. Presenter. Exploring Contradictions in Youth Participation. International Geographers Union Regional Conference, Krakow, Poland.

April 2014. Presenter. Gardeners of Peace and My Clean Neighborhood: Challenging the Idea of Working Youth as Urban Blight in Lima Peru. American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL.

April 2014. Department Seminar. ‘Re-theorizing the political: Peruvian street children’s everyday lives. University of Maryland Baltimore County (invited).

November 2012. Guest Lecturer. Distinguishing between the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’: the new divide between working children and street children. University of Washington (invited).

Recent Honors and Awards
  • Summer Faculty Fellowship, UMBC, 2014
  • NSF/AAG Travel Grant to attend International Geographical Union Conference in Krakow, 2014
  • Selected to participate in Economic Geography Summer Institute, Zurich, 2012.
  • Bridges Center for Labor Studies Graduate Research Grant, to conduct follow-up research in Peru 2011
  • Law, Society and Justice Travel Grant, to attend Law and Society Conference, San Francisco, 2011
  • Spencer Dissertation Fellow for scholars researching issues related to education, 2010
  • National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2010
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, to research effects of urbanization on poor children, 2006-2009
  • Martha Duggan Fellowship for student providing and researching care labor, 2008
  • Selected to participate in Graduate Workshop, Law and Society Association, Denver, CO 2008
Courses Taught

 Introduction to Human Geography; Urban Geography; Urbanization and Development; Global Poverty and Inequality