Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul

Teaching in 2020


2015-Present: PhD candidate in Anthropology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

2008-2010: MA in Development Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland

2004-2008: BA in Anthropology & Sociology, International Studies and French, Westminster College, MO, USA (GPA4.0/4.0)

Research Specialties

Migration policies, Integration, Belonging and citizenship of second generation youth, Statelessness

Current Research

My PhD research explores lifeworlds and everyday experience of 1.5 and second generation Shan youth in urban Chiang Mai, Thailand. Lacking full legal status as citizens of any state, my participants are commonly referred to as “stateless children” or “migrant children”. However, their daily experiences and pathways toward obtaining a citizenship are far from being homogeneous. The complex Thai nationality laws and the erratic nature of the country’s immigration policies have created diverse categories of statelessness that result in varying legal limitations. Subsequently, status progression out of the legal limbo becomes a personal journey that demands creative solutions and careful planning.

During my 11 months of ethnographic fieldwork, I followed my youth participants to various social spaces---from construction camps to schools to NGO and government offices. My research explores how these young migrants negotiate their identity, make meaning of their stateless status and build lives for themselves within Thailand and beyond. Viewing migrant children and youth as agents of knowledge, I hope to unveil the politics of citizenship by bringing their marginalized voice into the mainstream discussion on citizenship and, specifically, on what it means to be Thai.

Publications & Conference Presentations

Cheva-Isarakul, J. (2018). Entanglements: the formal and informal educational pathways of stateless Shan youth in northern Thailand. Statelessness Seminar Series. Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne

Cheva-Isarakul, J. (2018). From the protected zone to the unknown: Trajectories of Second Generation Shan Youth in Thai public schools and their strategies to overcome liminal legality. Rian Thai : International Journal of Thai Studies, 11(1).

2017. Exiting Limbo: A Stateless Youth’s Journey toward Claiming Citizenship.12th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies. National University of Singapore.

2017. Down the Tower. Anthropology in Aotearoa Symposium. Celebrating 50 Years of Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. Victoria University of Wellington

2016. “From the protected zone to the unknown: Trajectories of Second Generation Shan Youth in Thai public schools and their strategies to overcome liminal legality”. The Empowering Network for International Thai Studies Conference, Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University, July 2016. (note: the paper for this presentation has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the forthcoming journal article on Rianthai Journal of Thai Studies)

Brooks, Sarah M., Nyaradzo Chari-Imbayago, Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul, and Karoline Popp. (2011). International Dialogue on Migration: Migration and Social Change. Vol. 17. Geneva: International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Other Work Experience

October 2018-January 2019: Research associate for the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness's project on the obstacles to citizenship and legal documentation faced by nomadic peoples in southern Thailand

2014-present: Independent Consultant for non-profit organizations (skills: programmatic/organizational review, project management; thematic focus: urban resilience, governance, migrant youth’s participation and access to services)

2012-2014 Regional Project Manager, Oxfam Great Britain, Bangkok

2011-2012 Senior Analyst, Sasin Institute for Global Affairs, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Awards & Fellowships

2019 - Scholarship to attend the Statelessness Intensive Course, Melbourne Law School

2016 - Empowering Network for International Thai Studies (ENITS) Scholarship,

2015-2016 - Faculty Research Grant, Victoria University of Wellington

2008-2010 - The Wilsdorf Foundation Graduate Scholarship

2008 - The Davis United World College Summer Fellowship at Monterey Institute of International Studies

2008 - Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society (top 10 per cent of the class)

2008 - Westminster College’s Tammy Stiller Award of Excellence for Human Rights Commitment

2008 - The Kathryn W. Davis 100 Projects for Peace Grant

2007 - The American Academy of Political and Social Science (Junior Fellow)

2006 - The Humanity in Action Fellowship for education and research on human rights issues in Denmark

2004-2008 - The Shelby Davis United World College Undergraduate Scholarship

2001-2003 - The United World Colleges Scholarship to attend Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific

Teaching in 2020