Photo of Cati Coe

Cati Coe

Transnational migration, Care, Aging, Social Protection Policy, West Africa

Degrees:BA (Hons, Wesleyan), MA and PhD (University of Pennsylvania)
Office:C677 Loeb Building


Cati Coe is the Canada Research Chair in Migration and Care and Professor of Political Science at Carleton University. Dr. Coe is an internationally recognized leader in the scholarship of transnational families, aging, and care work, winning awards for her previous books The Scattered Family: Parenting, African Migrants, and Global Inequality (2013), The New American Servitude: Political Belonging among African Immigrant Home Care Workers (2019), and Changes in Care: Aging, Migration and Social Class in West Africa (2021). She is known for her careful analysis of how parents’ migration can cause various degrees of rupture in transnational families, her argument that international migration should be studied within the framework of the longer history and broader phenomenon of urban migration, and her leadership in initiating a new focus on children’s experiences within the field of migration studies.

Cati Coe joined the Department of Political Science at Carleton University in 2022, arriving from Rutgers University in the United States, where she worked as a professor of anthropology for twenty years. She is currently beginning a new project on how transnational migrants navigate national forms of social protection in later life. From her scholarship on African immigrant personal support workers in the United States, she has additional research interests in care worker organizing and resistance and the labor involved in end-of-life care.

As part of making her research more broadly available to the public, Dr. Coe has regularly written opinion essays and made two documentary films, “Stories from Home Care” (2021) based on the narratives of a personal support worker from Ghana working with older adults in the United States, and “Making Happiness: Older People Organize Themselves” (2020) about a social club for older adults in Ghana.

Selected Publications

The Commodification of Social Reproduction: A View of Global Care Chains from a Migrant-Sending Country.” Geoforum, April 2023.

Changes in Care: Aging, Migration, and Social Class in West Africa. Series on Global Perspectives on Aging. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2021. Winner of the 2022 Toyin Falola Africa Book Award, Association of Global South Studies.

Disposable Kin: Shifting Registers of Belonging in Global Care Economies,” American Anthropologist. Published online, January 2022, co-authored with Megha Amrith.

Special issue on “Migration and Social Class in Africa: Class-Making Projects in Translocal Social Fields,” Africa Today 66 (3-4), 2020, co-edited with Julia Pauli.

Meaningful Deaths: Home Health Workers’ Mediation of Death at Home.” Medical Anthropology 39:1 (2020): 96-108.

The New American Servitude: Political Belonging among African Immigrant Home Care Workers. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Political Belonging through Elder Care: Temporalities, Representations, and Mutuality.” Anthropological Theory 19:2 (2019): 279-299, co-authored with Tatjana Thelen.