Faculty and Researchers
Karen JacobsenLeir Chair in Global Migration and Research Director
Leir Chair in Global Migration, The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Research Director, Feinstein International Center
Karen Jacobsen directs Feinstein’s Refugees and Forced Migration Research Program. At Fletcher and Friedman, she teaches courses on forced migration and field research methods, and advises Ph.D. and master’s degree students.
Karen is a recognized expert in the field of forced migration, and she consults and writes widely on this topic. From 2013–2014 she headed the Joint IDP Profiling Service (JIPS) in Geneva, on leave of absence from Tufts. From 2000–2005, she directed the Alchemy Project, which explored the use of microfinance as a way to support people in refugee camps and other displacement settings.
Karen received her B.A. from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, her M.A. from Northeastern University, and her PhD in Political Science from MIT.
A South African by birth, Karen travels there frequently. She lives in Brookline with her son and dogs.
- Urban displacement
- Refugee and IDP rights and livelihoods
- Migration and refugee policy
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Middle East
- Current Issues in Global Immigration Policy (DHP 238), Fall Term
- Forced Migration (DHP D239), Spring Term
- Introduction to Research Methods (DHP D235), Spring Term
- Jacobsen, Karen. “The Economic Life of Refugees.” Kumarian Press, 19, no. 2 (2005): 258-260. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel003
- Dyan Mazurana, Karen Jacobsen and Lacey Gale. “A View from Below: Conducting Research in Conflict Zones.” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 254-274.
- Jacobsen, Karen. “Livelihoods and Forced Migration.” In The Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, ed. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 100-111.
- Jacobsen, Karen and Loren B. Landau. “The Dual Imperative in Refugee Research: Some Methodological and Ethical Considerations in Social Science Research on Forced Migration.” Disasters, 27, no. 3 (2003): 185-206. doi: 10.1111/1467-7717.00228.
- Jacobsen, Karen. “Can refugees benefit the state? Refugee resources and African state building.” Journal of Modern African Studies 40, no. 4 (2002). 577-596.
TuftsNow article “Why Providing Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine Is Challenging—and What to Do About It” draws on the expertise of Dan Maxwell and Karen Jacobsen to explain how aid works…Read More
Karen Jacobsen and Marina Lazetic presented their recent work on the impact of climate change (mainly rapid onset events) on displacement and migration within the U.S. at the Migration, Displacement…Read More
Feinstein Research Projects
This project collects and commissions case studies of urban settings (towns, cities or sub-areas of cities) in which refugees or internally displaced people have been living for more than two years.Read More
The project has three components, each designed to give a different perspective on Sahrawi refugees.Read More
This report analyzes gang violence affecting African refugee communities in Cairo, Egypt to promote understanding of why violence occurs and local grassroots efforts to prevent violence. It makes recommendations for how humanitarian organizations can support community efforts.Read More