Visiting Scholars

The Zolberg Institute hosts scholars who conduct research on issues that concern the  broadly defined inter-disciplinary fields of mobility and migration studies. If you are interested in becoming a Zolberg Institute Visiting Scholar, please click here for more information about the 2016-2017 Visiting Scholar Application process and guidelines.


2016-2017 Visiting Scholars

Claire R. Thomas is an attorney, advocate, and adjunct professor interested in migration, statelessness, human rights, and empowerment for women and girls facing poverty and gender-based violence. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School and co-teaches a year-long immigration law clinical course as well as an introductory immigration law course. She serves as Director of Training at the Safe Passage Project, a non-profit organization, in which she mentors pro bono attorneys representing immigrant children; coordinates a monthly Juvenile Docket at the New York Immigration Court; and engages in advocacy efforts with other non-profit organizations as well as city, state and federal agencies.

Claire is also contract attorney with CUNY Citizenship Now! and assists immigrants applying for naturalization. Previously, Ms. Thomas advocated for the rights of African, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrants at African Services Committee in Harlem, and was awarded a Community Action Grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Claire is a member of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the NYC Bar Association, co-chairs its Immigrant Access to Public Benefits subcommittee. She is currently a Contributing Editor for Anthropology News, a publication of the American Anthropological Association. Her writings have appeared in various law journals and other publications. Claire’s writings are available here.

Nina Siulc is an Affiliated Professor in the Program in Criminal Justice, as well as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Siulc is currently finishing her first book, Unwelcome Citizens, which describes the experiences of Dominican adults who came to the United States as young children and were later deported after being convicted of crimes. In addition to studying how people adjust to life in the Dominican Republic after many years abroad, the book also explores what freedom means in the lives of people who have experienced migration, criminalization, incarceration, and deportation and have been subjected to extreme forms of state intervention in their lives.

Siulc’s new research, Children of the Crimmigration Era, involves longitudinal research with children and families in the United States in order to study how parental deportation impacts the socialization and identity formation of the citizen children who remain in the United States. Siulc also has training in ethnographic filmmaking and has worked in a number of engaged research and policy settings. Some of her other projects have involved studying legal rights presentations for detained immigrants to assess how they understand immigration law and make decisions about their deportation cases, interviewing Central American children who have been detained after migrating to the United States, working with social service providers and law enforcement to improve services for persons who have experienced human trafficking, studying the role of religious institutions in helping new migrants adjust to life in the New York City, and working with a local hospital to reduce cultural misunderstandings between Anglo- and Latino- medical staff and Mexican patients.

2015-2016 Visiting Scholars

Svati P. Shah is an associate professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Previously, she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in sexuality studies at Duke University, and had served as visiting assistant professor at Wellesley College and New York University. She has spoken about her work extensively in the U.S., India, Europe, and South Africa. Dr. Shah earned a PhD in 2006 from Columbia University’s joint doctoral program in anthropology and public health; she also holds an MPH from Emory University. Dr. Shah has taught sexuality studies and  feminist studies in her courses, and in workshops and short-term courses taught internationally. Dr. Shah’s has published work on a range of topics that explore the intersections of urbanization, sexuality, migration and political economy. Her research has examined these intersections ethnographically, through studies of sexual commerce and LGBTQ politics in India.

Dr. Shah also works with a number of charitable foundations and community based organizations, both in the U.S. and in India. Her ethnographic monograph entitled Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai was published by Duke University Press in 2014. Her new three new projects examine the relationship between climate justice movements and trade unions, the intersections of sexuality politics and land rights movements in India, and pedagogical questions that derive from theorizing sexuality in the non-Western world.

Nancy Hiemstra is assistant professor of Migration Studies in the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory at SUNY Stony Brook, in Long Island, New York. She was previously a Scholar In Residence at Emerson College. Dr. Hiemstra completed her PhD in 2011 from Syracuse University in the Department of Geography, with a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She teaches courses focused on human mobility, women’s and gender studies, cultural studies, Latin America, and feminist research methodologies. Dr. Hiemstra’s scholarship identifies and analyzes the political and socio-cultural reverberations of restrictive immigration policies in the United States and Latin America. As a feminist political geographer, she draws on critical geopolitical theorizations of the state and mobility, and deploys feminist notions of embodiment as tools for qualitative analysis. In order to take into account the spatial and temporal milieu in which international migration occurs, her work considers a broad range of scales, from the intimate to the transnational. She is currently working on a book monograph about the consequences of U.S. immigration enforcement policies in daily life in Ecuador. She has also begun a new research project, in collaboration with Dr. Deirdre Conlon of Leeds University, on immigration detention in the greater New York City area. Dr. Hiemstra will be a Visiting Scholar at the Zolberg Institute in Spring 2016. Please visit her webpage for further information.

Nicholas J. Klein is a research assistant professor in the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Temple University. Nick’s research examines the dual power of mobility to enable both the everyday travel and longer-term changes to individuals, families, neighborhoods and society. His work focuses on questions of social equity in transportation planning, primarily by studying marginalized populations that use transit, walk and bike at high rates. Recent research has focused on the so-called “Chinatown buses,” the travel behavior of recent immigrants to the US, the relationship between sexuality and transportation, and long-term changes in transportation within families in the US. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers University. For further information, please click here.

2014-2015 Visiting Scholars

Michel Agier is Professor of Anthropology at l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Director of Research at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement. Prof. Agier is also Visiting Scholar at the New School for Social Research (2015). He has published widely and prolifically on the topics of humanitarianism, refugee camps, spaces of expulsion and exclusion and the phenomenon of urbanization on a global scale. His recent works include Un Monde de Camps (La Découverte 2014) Managing the Undesirables: Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Government (Polity Press 2011), and On the Margins of the World: The Refugee Experience of Today ( Polity Press 2008). On April 21st, 2015, Michel Agier gave a lecture co-sponsored by the Politics Department and the Zolberg Institute entitled “Borderland and ‘Borderman.’ Toward a New Cosmopolis” to view the video filmed by Public Seminar see here.

Ernesto Castañeda is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, El Paso in the department of Sociology and Anthropology and works on migration, health disparities, social movements, urban studies, and homelessness. He has conducted surveys and ethnographic fieldwork in the United States, France, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Algeria, and Morocco. He compares Latino and Muslim immigrant integration and ethnic mobilization in the U.S. and Western Europe. He is researching the diffusion of discourses around border security. He has published on the relation between remittances and development; integration and transnationalism; hometown associations and diaspora organizations; urban exclusion; the border fence; transnational families and the children of migrants; and health disparities within Hispanic, immigrant, and homeless populations. He has a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. His full CV and publications are available here.