Odessa  Gonzalez  Benson

Odessa Gonzalez Benson

Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Detroit School of Urban Studies

Dr. Odessa Gonzalez Benson is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Detroit School of Urban Studies. Her research focuses on refugee resettlement, grassroots organizations, participatory practice, state-civil society relations and critical policy studies, with three areas. First, she contributes to knowledge about grassroots organizations, particularly refugee-run community organizations (RCOs), aiming to inform participatory approaches to SW practice and urban governance. For instance, her studies have examined RCOs’ COVID-19 pandemic crisis responseparticipation in urban governancecommunity health practices and role in resettlement practices. Second, in her critical policy studies, she examines US refugee policy in various aspects, including placement strategieswork policies and neoliberal discourse, using varied methodological approaches, from quantitative analyses of federal data to discourse analyses of historical text. Finally, Gonzalez Benson conducts critical theoretical inquiry about forced migration and social work practice and research, with work on state violenceactive strategies in policy research and migrant ontologies for example. Journals of publications include Social Services Review, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Refugee Studies, British Journal of Social Work, Social Work Research, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Cities. She runs the Just Futures Research Collective. She draws upon years of community engagement, diverse education and work experiences and her personal path as a 1.5-generation immigrant to inform and motivate her research. She has a PhD from the University of Washington in Seattle, an MSW from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.