sign reading border patrol only leans against a fence in the desert
Reece Jones’ research centers around geopolitics and borders.

A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa geography professor is among a select group to receive the 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to continue his research in the areas of geopolitics and borders. Reece Jones is a professor in the Department of Geography and Environment in UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences (CSS).

head shot of reece jones
Reece Jones

Jones is among a diverse group of 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists selected for the fellowship from the U.S. and Canada. The fellows are chosen from almost 3,000 applicants through a rigorous peer-review process. In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 73 different academic institutions, 28 states and two Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of fellows.

“I am honored to receive this fellowship and gratified to have my work on borders and immigration recognized in this way,” said Jones. “I want to thank my colleagues in the department, college and at UH Mānoa for their support and encouragement over the years.”

Advancing research on borders

Jones plans to use the fellowship to complete research for a new book, Nobody is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States, which is set for publication in 2022.

“We live in an era of globalization, yet much of the world has focused on limiting the free movement of people across borders,” he noted. “This has led to the growth of border patrols to maintain these lines of separation, and increasing violence at borders.”

Added CSS Dean Denise Eby Konan, “We are proud of Professor Jones and his contributions to the field of geopolitics. This award is a reflection of his dedication to research, the relevance of his work, and his efforts to bring to light some of the most pressing issues facing our world today.”

Jones has been with the university since 2008. He currently chairs the Department of Geography and Environment and serves as an affiliate faculty member of the Center for South Asian Studies.

He is the author of the award-winning books Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel, which received the 2013 Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award for best book in political geography from the American Association of Geographers; and Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move, which received the 2017 award for the best book in Political Geography from the Royal Geographical Society. His upcoming book, White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall, will be published in September 2021 by Beacon Press. Jones is also editor-in-chief of Geopolitics.

Jones’ work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.