The Pacific Basin Institute was started in Santa Barbara in 1979 by Frank B. Gibney and moved to Pomona College in 1997. Gibney started the nonprofit corporation as one of the first research and policy groups to deal with the entire region, as opposed to concentrating on individual countries or national groups.

Since coming to Pomona College, PBI has worked closely with the Asian Studies and Latin American Studies Departments, collaborating and serving as a sponsor for conferences, lectures and workshops. Our faculty with an interest in Asia and Latin America represent an extraordinary wealth of talent, and regularly serve as in-house consultants for PBI’s ongoing projects.

In the past, PBI offered an active student filmmaking program, allowing students to travel the Pacific Rim to produce documentaries. The center also sponsored the publication of numerous books of historical significance to the Asia-Pacific region, offering support through PBI programming.

Today, PBI continues to be a center for the study of this region through its lecture series, sponsorship of scholars or journalists at risk, and through its deep archive of media and other materials pertaining to the region.

About Director Pardis Mahdavi

Pardis Mahdavi, director of the Pacific Basin Institute and associate professor of anthropology, focuses her work on gender and sexuality in the Muslim World. Her research has taken her to Iran, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, the Philippines, Madagascar, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan., She is currently researching impacts of gendered migrations on family and love across Asia. Her past books include Passionate Uprisings: The Intersection of Sexuality and Politics in Post-Revolutionary Iran (2008), Gridlock: Labor, Migration and Human Trafficking in Dubai (2011), and From Trafficking to Terror (2013).

Under Mahdavi’s direction, PBI will once again focus not just on Asia, but on the countries that border the Pacific in conversation with one another. Mahdavi’s own research looks at global mobilities, migrations, and sexualities across borders. As such, she will emphasize the need to bring in transnational perspectives to social justice challenges of our time.