Dena Aufseeser

Ph.D., University of Washington, 2012

Assistant Professor
211-P Sondheim Hall

Research Interests

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

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.  I am particularly interested in questions related to housing and educational inequalities.  My research aims to draw connections between questions of poverty and inequality across multiple spaces and scales.

Finally, I am interested in diverse geographies of motherhood and practices of care.

Recent Publications

Aufseeser, D. 2020. “Towards a relational understanding of child poverty: Care and adverse inclusion among street-affiliated children in Peru.” Geoforum

Aufseeser, D. 2019. “Mothering in the context of poverty: Disciplining Peruvian mothers through children’s Rights” Feminist Encounters

Aufseeser, D. 2018. “Placing the vulnerable subject: re-theorizing Peruvian street children’s lives through an ethic of care.” Social and Cultural Geography

Aufseeser, D. 2017. “Challenging conceptions of young people as urban blight: Street children and youth’s ambiguous relationship with urban revitalization in Lima, Peru.” Environment and Planning A

Aufseeser, D, Bourdillon, M, Carothers, R, and Lecoufle, O. 2017. “Children’s work and children’s well-being: Implications for policies.” Development Policy Review.

Aufseeser, D. 2015. “Street children and everyday violence.” Geographies of Children and Young People. Springer.

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. “Alternative spaces of learning: Street children’s experiences negotiating education and labor in Peru.” In Geographies of Informal Learning. 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

April 2018. Panelist and organizer. Towards geographies of mothering: Care, identity and socio-spatial context of mothering. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA.

April 2018. Presenter and co-organizer. “I packed my bag….in case Trump sends up back to Africa”: Young people, race and belonging in Baltimore, MD. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. New Orleans.

December 2015. Invited Speaker. The neoliberalization of children’s rights in Peru: Disciplining children and their families through rights-based programming. San Diego State University. Department of Geography Colloquium.

October 2015. Workshop speaker. Facilitating Child Participation in International Protection. Ryerson University.

 April 2015. Panelist: Care Ethics and Social Movements. American Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL.

April 2015. Presenter. Learning, work and livelihoods: Assessing the problem of ‘child labor’ in Peru. American Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL.

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.

Recent Honors and Awards
    • Mary Lily Research Grant Recipient, Duke University, 2020
    • IRC Summer Faculty Fellowship, UMBC, 2018
    • MIPAR Faculty Fellowship, UMBC, 2016
    • Summer Faculty Fellowship, UMBC, 2014
    • NSF/AAG Travel Grant to attend International Geographical Union Conference in Krakow, 2014
Courses Taught

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