Concordia University

Dr. Nalini Mohabir

Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment

David Ward
Office: S-H 1255-21 
Henry F. Hall Building,
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5484
Availability: Available by Appointment

Years ago, at a Caribbean Migrations conference, I had the privilege of attending a talk by Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite. I jotted down his words, for later and as it turns out, ongoing reflection:

Look at his hands

Bones smooth by the hoe


Nothing more to show for thirty years of labour

The shame of it all

Sweet nest of pain



Not just a labourer

A person caught in the middle of an explosion

Retained his integrity, but ignored by society, silence, indifference


What destroyed El Dorado?

Years later, tectonic movements through profound explosions of time and space continue to propel my interests. In particular, I am interested in tracing the routes of dis/placed labouring bodies, as a counter-narrative to colonial archives, and to offer a more contoured mapping of migrations by putting the past into conversation with the present.

My doctoral dissertation (University of Leeds, 2012) focused on the return migration of labourers (formerly indentured to Caribbean plantations) back to India following Indian independence, i.e., decolonization and diaspora as mutually informing ideas. This research was funded by an Overseas Research Student Award (courtesy of the United Kingdom Higher Education Council). Research was conducted through interviews in England, Guyana, India, and Canada and in archives across Fiji, Guyana, India, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom. 

My writing has appeared in academic journals including Small Axe, Macomère, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, Habitat International, and Postcolonial Interventions; newspapers (e.g., Stabroek News, Guyana; New Indian Express, India; and The Guardian, UK); in the contemporary art magazine Of Note, and an exhibition catalogue (Coolie Coolie Viens).

More recently, I have been developing a secondary research interest in Chinese urbanism.

Atlantic Ocean

Teaching activities

GEOG 498  Feminist Geographies: Bodies & Borders

GEOG 200 World Regional Geography

GEOG 398  Refugees and Forced Migration in Today’s World

GEOG 418 Postcolonial Geographies


Ronald Cummings and Nalini Mohabir. (2018). "The Anger of Very, Very Restless Spirits": Plantation Arrivals, Diasporic Departures and Other Queer Narratives of Caribbean Becoming -- A Conversation with Faizal Deen. Journal of West Indian Literature, 26 (2018): 10-24. 

Jiang, Y., Mohabir, N., Ma, R., & Zhu, P. (2017). Sorting through Neoliberal Variations of Ghost Cities in China. Land Use Policy69, 445-453.

Mohabir, Nalini. "Picturing an Afterlife of Indenture." Small Axe 21.2 53 (2017): 81-93.

Mohabir, Nalini, Yanpeng Jiang, and Renfeng Ma. "Chinese floating migrants: Rural-urban migrant labourers' intentions to stay or return." Habitat International 60 (2017): 101-110.

Mohabir, Nalini. “Indentureship.” The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Ray, Sangeeta and Henry Schwarz. (Eds.) Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

Mohabir, Nalini. "Port of Departure, Port of Return: Mapping Indentured Returns to Calcutta." Small Axe 18.2 44 (2014): 108-122.

Mohabir, Nalini. "Servitude in the Shadow of Slavery? Towards a Relational Account of Indenture." Human Bondage in the Cultural Contact Zone. Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Slavery and Its Discourses (2010): 227.

Mohabir, Nalini. “Women and Return Journeys.” Macomere: Journal of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. November, 2010: 166-189

Mohabir, Nalini and Hyacinth Simpson. “Resurgent (Rise Again): The Last Repatriation of Indo-Caribbean Indentured Labourers” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 8.3, 2006: 487-505

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