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Ranu Basu

Ranu Basu


Global Geography Coordinator

Research Faculty, Centre for Refugee Studies


PhD Human Geography, University of Toronto
MA Human Geography, University of Toronto
BA Geography, University of Bombay

Research Keywords

Urban Social and Political Geography; Anti-Imperialism and Postcolonial Geographies; Critical Geographies of Education; Urban Geographies of Migration and Displacement; Theories of Collective Action and Community Organization; Spatial Methodologies including Phronesis and Critical Geographic Information Systems (GIS); Canada, Cuba, India.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate programs in Geography and Development Studies.

Ranu Basu

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100 

Research Interests

My research and teaching interests relate to the geographies of marginality, diversity and social justice in cities; power, space and activism; anti-imperialism and post-colonial geographies; forced migration and the geopolitics of subaltern cosmopolitanism; critical geographies of education; and spatial methodologies including critical GIS. My projects have explored the impacts of neoliberalization of educational restructuring in Ontario; 'multiculturalism' in schools; urbanization, social sustainability, public space/place-making among migrant communities; sub/urban/altern cosmopolitanism and cities of integrative multiplicity in Toronto. My current work explores the transformational dynamics of urban/geopolitical/educational spaces in Cuba and India.

I have served for many years on the executive board of the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS); and also the York Centre for Education and Community (YCEC); The City Institute at York University (CITY); and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR); and as a fellow at the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). I am the Principal Investigator in an international SSHRC Insight Grant project (2015-20/22) titled Subalterity, Education and Welfare Cities that historically traces the geopolitical impacts of forced displacement on cities and schools through questions of conflict and displacement in Havana, Toronto and Kolkata. As part of this project, a working group on the Geopolitics of Education for Peace is currently exploring international examples around the world related to questions of education, praxis, peace.

Research Projects

Geopolitical framings of subalterity in education, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York Univesity, 2021.

Subalterity, public education, and welfare cities: Comparing the experience of displaced migrants in three cities [Havana, Toronto, Kolkata]. Funding: Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), 2015-20/23.

State Spaces of Education in Havana: From Ideology to Practice in the 21st Century. Funding: LA&PS Faculty Award, 2015-2016.

Integrative Multiplicity through Suburban Realities: Exploring diversity through public spaces in Scarborough. Funding: CERIS The Ontario Metropolis Centre, 2011-12.

Demographic Data and Student Equity Project - University and School Board Partnership with Carl James (PI), York Centre for Education and Community (YCEC), Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Peel District School Board (PDSB), Ottawa-Carleton District School Board OCDSB), York Region District School Board (YDSB)). Funding: Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research (KNAER) Grant, 2011-13.

Mapping the Politics of Education Reform in Ontario: Examining Public Elementary Schools in Transition (1993-2005). Funding: Social Science and Humanities Research Council, 2005-08.

Maintaining ‘Spaces of Integration’ in an Era of Devolution: Exploring the Geographies of Language and Education Policy in Toronto’s Elementary Schools. Funding: Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, 2005-06.

Social Sustainability, Diversity and Public Space in Three Canadian Cities (with Barbara Rahder (PI), Liette Gilbert, Susan McGrath and Patricia Wood). Funding: Social Science and Humanities Research Council, 2006-09.

Infrastructure in York Region: A GIS Analysis of Human Services (with Lucia Lo (PI), Valerie Preston, Paul Anisef and Shuguang Wang). Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Strategic Programs and Infrastructure Canada Joint Initiatives, 2006-08.

A Canadian Refugee Research Network: Globalizing Knowledge. (Collaborator, Susan McGrath (PI)). Funding: SSHRC Cluster proposal, 2008-2015.

Research Output

Lo, L., Preston, V., Anisef, P.S., Basu, R. and Wang, S. (2015) Social Infrasructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs . Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Basu, R. (2023) Neoliberalized Private Education – Main themes and Counter Hegemonic Futures,concluding chapter inDavid Giband, Kevin Mary, Nora Nafaa (Eds) Geograph(ies) of globalized education privatization(s) Springer, Human Geography collection

Basu, R. (forthcoming, 2023) Imperialist Sanctions/Embargoes/Blockades in the context of Forced Migration–[Cuba] in Compendium of key words in Refugee and Migration Studies, prepared by Ranabir Samaddar, Paula Bannerjee (ed) Calcutta Research Group and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Basu, R. (2022) ‘The Anti‐Imperialist Geopolitical Suburb? Caimanera as Guantánamo’s Revolutionary Frontier, in Antipode (available at Link to Critical Classroom.

Basu, R. (2021) ‘Geopolitical Framings of Subalterity in Education III: Context of Displacement’, in Refugee Watch – A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration, Volume 58, December 2021. (available at

Villegas, P, Landolt,P., Freeman, V., Hermer, J., Basu, R., Videkanic, B. (2020) 'Contesting Settler-Colonial Accounts: Temporality and Place-Making in Scarborough, Ontario' in Studies in Social Justice. Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 321-351 (available at ttps://

Basu, R., (2020). Postcolonial Geographies. In: Kobayashi, A. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. vol. 10, Elsevier, pp. 283–287.

Basu, R., Asci, P (2020) 'Intermediary Cities of Refuge: From Istanbul to Kolkata' in Thakur, R, Dutt, A, Thakur S, and Pomeroy, G (eds) ‘Urban and Regional Planning and Development: 20th century Forms and 21st Century Transformations’ Springer, Netherlands.

Basu R. (2019) Geopolitical Framings of Subalterity in Education: Compounding a Neoliberalized Welfare State. In: Jahnke H., Kramer C., Meusburger P. (eds) Geographies of Schooling. Knowledge and Space, vol 14. Springer, Cham.

Basu, R. (2019) Sub/urban/altern Cosmopolitanism: Unsettling Scarborough’s Cartographic Imaginary. 'Unsettling' online catalogue, Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough.

Reilly, K, Basu, R., Ledwith, V. (2018) 'Geographies of Education: Context, Possibilities and Futures' in Tracey Skelton and Stuart Aitken (eds) Establishing Geographies of Children and Young People Springer Singapore.

Basu, R. and Fiedler, R.S. (2017) 'Integrative Multiplicity through Suburban Realities: Exploring diversity through public spaces in Scarborough' in Urban Geography, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp: 25-46 (available at

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hydman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., Basu, R., Whitson, R., Hawkins, R., Hamilton, T., and Curran, W. (2015) 'For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university in ACME, Vol 14, No 4 (2015) pp:1235-1259 (available at

Murnaghan, A. and Basu, R. (2015) 'Playfully Negotiating Publics: Children, Space and Activism in the City' pp 517-525 in Dutt., Ashok, Noble, Allen G., Costa, Frank G., Thakur, Rajiv R., and Kant, Surya (eds) Spatial Diversity and Dynamics in Resources and Urban Development (Urban Development, Volume II (Netherlands: Springer).

McCreary, T., Basu, R. and Godlewska, A. (Special Issue Editors) (2013) Critical Geographies of Education in Canadian Geographer Volume 57 (3) (available at:

McCreary, T., Basu, R. and Godlewska, A. (2013) 'Introduction: Critical Geographies of Education, Special Issue of the Canadian Geographer Volume 57 (3) (available at:

Basu, R. (2013) 'Multiplying Spaces of Subalterity in Education: From Ideological Realms to Strategizing Outcomes' in Canadian Geographer 57(3) (available at:

Rahder, B., Basu, R., Gilbert, L., McGrath, S., and Wood, P. (Special Issue Editors) (2013) Diversity and Public Space in Canadian Journal of Urban Research Volume 22, Issue 1 (available at:

Basu, R. (2013) 'In Search of Nimmathi for Social Sustainability? Imagining, Building and Negotiating Spaces of Peace in Toronto’s Diverse Neighbourhoods' in Canadian Journal of Urban Research (CJUR), Special Issue in Diversity, Volume 21, Issue 1. (available at:

Basu, R. (2012) 'Spatial Phronesis: A Case Study in Geosurveillance' in Flyvbjerg, B., Schram, S., Landman, T. (eds) , Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis. Cambridge University Press.

Dippo, D., Basu, R., and Duran, M. (2012) 'Settlement and Schooling: Unique circumstances of refugees and forced migrants' in Journal of Canadian Ethnic Studies, Volume 44, 3 (available at:

Basu, R. (2011) 'Multiculturalism through Multilingualism in Schools: Emerging Places of 'Integration' in Toronto' in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 101, Issue 6, pp. 1307-1330 (available at:

Barakat, B., Carson, D., Taylor, A., Basu, R. and Wang, L. (2010) . 'Education, remoteness and population dynamics' in D. Carson, R. Rasmussen, P. C. Ensign, A. Taylor and L. Huskey (Eds). Demography at the Edge: Remote human populations in developed nations. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing.

Basu, R. (2010) 'Geographies of Education', for the Encyclopedia of Geography , edited by Barney Wharf, Sage Publications.

Basu, R. (2009) 'Phronesis through GIS:Exploring Political Spaces of Education’, in Professional Geographer, Volume 61, Issue 4, 481-492. (available at:

Basu, R. (2007) 'Negotiating Acts of Citizenship in an Era of Neoliberal Reform: The Game of School Closures’ in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 31.1: 109-27. (available at:

Mok, D., Wellman, B. and Basu, R. (2007) ‘Did distance matter: Contact and support before the Internet’ in Social Networks 29, pp 430-461 (available at:

Basu, R. (2006) ‘Multiethnic Neighbourhoods as sites of Social Capital Formation: Examining social to political ‘integration’ in schools’ in Education, Social Justice and Citizenship Volume 1 (1): 59-82.

Basu, R. (2005) ‘Geo-surveillance through the Mapping of ‘Test’ Results: An Ethical Dilemma or Public Policy Solution?’ in ACME An International E-journal for Critical Geographies, Volume 3(2): 87-111.

Basu, R. (2004) 'The Rationalization of Neoliberalism in Ontario's Public Education System, 1995-2000' in Geoforum, Volume 35/5:621-634. (available at:

Basu, R. (2004) ‘A Flyvbjergian perspective of Public Elementary School Closures in Toronto: A Question of ‘Rationality’ or ‘Power’? in Environment and Planning: C, Government and Policy, Volume 22: 423-251.

Massam, B., Basu, R. (2003) 'Quality of Life: the essence of the geography of health' in Akhtar,R. ed. Medical Geography: Global Perspectives, New Delhi: APH Corporation.

Basu, R. (2002) ‘Active and Dormant Spaces: A look at the Geographical Response to School Based Care’ in the ‘Journal for Planning Education and Research’ (JPER) 21: 275-285.

Research Reports

Basu, R. with Kate O'Connor, Rob Fiedler, Connie Ko, and Nate Prier (2013) Integrative Multiplicity through Suburban Realities: Exploring Diversity through Public Spaces in Scarborough. Report to CERIS - Ontario Metropolis (available at:

Lo, L., Anisef, P., Basu, R., Preston, V., and Wang, S. (2009) 'Infrastructure in York Region: A GIS Analysis of Human Services', a research report submitted to Infrastructure Canada. 160 pages. June.

Bourne, L.S. with Starkweather, S. and Basu, R. (2000) People and Places: A Portrait of the Evolving Social Character in the Greater Toronto Region, Report to the Neptis Foundation, Toronto, 110 pp. (available at:

Creative Works

Basu, R. Budiman, S, Ko, C. (2017) From Havana to Guantanamo: Travelling with MOVPAZ [00:30:37 minutes].

Basu, R., Budiman, S. (2017) Che Guevara Brigades: International Solidarity [00:29:34 minutes].

Basu, R., Budiman, S. (2017) Revolution, Space and Education: Havana [00:16:40 minutes].

Basu R. and Ko, C. (2013) 'Atlas on Integrative Mulitplicity in Scarborough for CERIS (available at

Basu, R. (2011) 'Spatial Phronesis through Poetic Musings: Exploring Alternative Geographies' in the Art of Geography, Discussion Paper Series #59, Department of Geography, York University, edited by S. Flusty.

Basu, R. (2008, 2016) Ignorant Cartographies produced at the Center for Digital Story Making, Berkeley, California. Posted on ' Urban environments in transition: Engaging young leaders and raising community awareness trough multimodal narratives (2016), Aristotle University, Greece (available at

Recognition & Awards

  • 2008 John A. Sproul Fellow at the Center for Canadian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 2008 Visiting Scholar, Center for Cities and Schools at the Institute for Urban and Regional Development (IURD), University of California, Berkeley.
  • 2019 Visiting Scholar, University of Havana.
  • 2019 featured in Women and GIS (ESRI) Seeking human interconnectedness on a global scale.
  • 2022 Visiting Scholar, University of Havana


Course CodeTitle
EU/GEOG 2320Migration and Displacement
EU/GEOG4700Critical Geographies of Education
EU/GEOG 3380Urban Social Analysis
Graduate Course EU/GEOG 5370Space, Power and the City