Mekonnen Tesfahuney, Professor of Human Geography
Mekonnen Tesfahuney was born in Ethiopia and worked as a lecturer at the university in Addis Abeba between 1980 and 1989. He came to Sweden as a refugee in 1990. In 1991, he started his doctoral studies in human geography at Uppsala University and he obtained his doctorate in 1998.
In his dissertation, Tesfahuney took a critical geopolitical approach to migration, making his dissertation the first of its kind in this respect. Between 1999 and 2001 he was the head of research for a project on multicultural education at the University of Gothenburg. He has been employed at Karlstad University since 2002.
“My research concerns space, mobility, migration, racism and human geography theory. My interest in issues such as migration and asylum, power over mobility, as well as inclusion and exclusion, all stem from my own experiences as a refugee. My research is always current in the political and academic debate. It has only become more urgent to study issues concerning identity, belonging, origin and not least the right to move in our time.”
Mekonnen Tesfahuney’s research is primarily used in his field, but also in other arts and social science subjects. His article on monocultural education [Monokulturell utbildning] (1990) is for example used in most teacher training programmes in Sweden.
“The subjects I touch upon in my research are also current in many other disciplines, such as media, sociology, education, political science, religious studies and comparative literature. In other words, my research is cross-disciplinary – not least because it is inspired by cross-disciplinarity and crosses disciplinary boundaries.”
Mekonnen Tesfahuney is part of the strong research group Geomedia at Karlstad University. Nationally and internationally Geomedia is seen as a unique research environment focusing on geographical and media issues.
“If the map was the first revolution in global communications technology, I think digital maps and media could reasonably be seen as the second global revolution in communications technology. Geomedia is a research field that aims to research and show the different implications of this revolution, both for individual and groups, as well as for politics, the economy, culture, social life and, of course, the academy.”
And what does a newly appointed professor of human geography do in his free time? A new dad has an obvious answer.
“All my free time is spent with my family, which consists of my wife Rediet and my lovely daughter Menna.”