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Breanne Grace, PhD

Making Change Happen

Trained as a sociologist, Breanne Grace is interested in how refugees transition from statelessness to citizenship through the resettlement process. “We tend to think about citizenship as passports and legal documents. Of course that is part of it, but my research focuses on social citizenship – the belonging that comes through social and economic security.” Dr. Grace’s research focuses on official resettlement and humanitarian aid policies, contrasting official policy with what refugees actually do on a daily basis in pursuit of things like education and health care.

Dr. Grace works primarily with African refugees resettled in the United States—including in Columbia, South Carolina—and in resettlements and refugee camps in East Africa. She has spent six of the past ten years living in Tanzania. “I first went to Tanzania as an undergraduate student through a study abroad program at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). My time at UDSM introduced me to new ways of seeing the world. The professors there challenged me to think outside of what I thought I knew about development, aid, and global politics. Now I try to challenge my students to rethink their places in the world and their understandings of development and rights.”

Research Background

Dr. Grace’s work focuses on five main themes:

  1. Inter-sectionality and social citizenship (social welfare) access
  2. The role of licit and illicit economies in market citizenship 
  3. Immigration policy broadly; refugee resettlement policy in particular
  4. The relationship between legal citizenship, social citizenship, and constructions of autochthony in African contexts
  5. The political economy of humanitarian aid

Dr. Grace’s work focuses on African refugee populations resettled in the United States and Tanzania, as well as transnational family and community relations between the two countries. Her work focuses on social citizenship rights access after refugee resettlement, comparing intended access with how individuals negotiate rights on a daily basis.

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Contact Information
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Office: 803.777.3906
  • Curriculum Vita
Major Classes Taught
  • SOWK441 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Large Systems
Community Partners
  • Somali Bantu Community - East Africa and Southern California

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