Photo of Associate Professor Jennifer Ridgley

Associate Professor Jennifer Ridgley

Cities: Critical labour, political, and legal geographies; Citizenship, border security, immigration, migration; Urban policing and law enforcement

Degrees:MA (University of Toronto), PhD (University of Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2576
Office:B355 Loeb


My research to date has focused on the relationship between state practices of border security and migration management, the changing substance and meaning of citizenship, and the criminalization of migrant workers. I have focused on how these relationships manifest themselves in the unlikely sites of border security: in the interior of the United States and Canada, in cities, and in the everyday interactions between non-citizens, employers, municipal service providers, and local police. I am interested in how sovereignty, racialized identities, and citizenship are produced and transformed in these spaces. In the past, I have addressed these questions by exploring the history of “sanctuary cities” in the United States and Canada, as well as the passage of anti-immigrant ordinances by municipal governments.

My current work includes two major research projects. The first explores contemporary geographies of immigration law enforcement and policing, and the second seeks to identify barriers people with precarious immigration status face in accessing supports and services. Both these projects are focused on small and mid-sized Canadian cities.

Research Interests:

  • Critical labour, political, and legal geographies of the city
  • Citizenship, border security, and the management of migration
  • Local immigration politics, including sanctuary policies, anti-deportation campaigns, and movements for refugee rights
  • Urban policing and law enforcement

2024 – 2025 Courses:

  • GEOG 2023 Winter – Cities Inequality Urban Change
  • GEOG 5500 Winter – Political Economy of the City

Selected Publications:

2020 Co-authored with Fiona Jeffries “Building the sanctuary city from the ground up: abolitionist solidarity and transformative reform.” Citizenship Studies, DOI:10.1080/13621025.2020.1755177

2018 Co-authored with David Moffette “Sanctuary City Organizing in Canada: From Hospitality to Solidarity.” Migration and Society, 1(1), 147-155.

2012  Co-authored with Justin Steil “’Small Town Defenders’:  The Production of Citizenship and Belonging in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.”  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30.6.

2012 “The City as a Space of Sanctuary in the United States.” InSanctuary Practices in International Perspectives.  R. Lippert and S. Rehaag, eds. New York, NY:  Routledge.

2011 “Refuge, Refusal, and Acts of Holy Contagion:  The City as Sanctuary for Soldiers Resisting the Vietnam War.”  ACME:  An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 10.2.