About me

I am an international migration scholar (PhD in Sociology and History, Michigan State University 2012)  interested in the emigration process in Latin America. My research attempts to answer broader questions about the relationship between the individual and the nation within the international system. My intention is to continuously engage with historiographical debates of migration, the nation, and memory, as well as with the theoretical debates of the intersections between agency and structure, history and biography, and the integration of levels of analyses in social science research. Epistemologically my work is interdisciplinary as this is how we should be developing understandings of the complexities of social life. From this perspective I argue that the exchange of ideas and collaborative work with scholars from other disciplines and topics of research is of central importance to the advancement of social sciences. Also, I approach research as an important component of my teaching practice continuously connecting the class topic with my research. Finally, I always attempt to develop connections that could influence the design of public policies that are coherent with the promotion and respect of the human rights of migrants in particular and of people in general.

I also have a bachelor’s degree  and a professional degree in Sociology, Universidad de Chile (2002); a Master in Political Sciences and International Relations, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2007); and a Master of Arts in Sociology, Michigan State University  (2007). I funded my doctoral studies and research through a Fulbright-Conicyt Fellowship (2005-2009), an Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching Fellowship (2009-2010) at James Madison College and Michigan State University, the Julian Samora Endowed Scholarship (2010-2011) and a Residential College in Arts and Humanities Fellowship (2010-2011) as well as other Michigan State University research grants. In the year 2011 I was awarded an Excellence in Teaching citation at MSU. I also received a Ford Foundation-Universidad de Chile Research Award (2001) and a Tinker Field Research Award (2007).

I have been a research assistant for the Centro de Informacion Migratoria para America Latina (CIMAL) at the International Organization for Migration (IOM-Chile) and for the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Center (CELADE), which is the Population Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC-United Nations) in topics of international migration and national and international policy. At MSU I have been involved with research on topics of globalization, demography and international migration with Dr. Brendan Mullan in the Department of Sociology,  on topics of contemporary urban history in Chile with Dr. Edward Murphy in the Department of History and the Global Urban Studies Program, and on public art and city identity with Dr. Toby Ten Eyck in the Department of Sociology. I keep my connections and interest in Chile through my work as a Research Associate for the “Centro de Estudios de Políticas Públicas IGNIRE“. At IGNIRE  I contribute to the area of population and migration policies and as a member of the editorial board of the journal Discusiones Públicas.

In my dissertation, entitled In the shadow of empire and nation: Chilean migration to the US since the 1950s, I analyzed the historical and biographical components of the decision to migrate. I used oral histories, migration statistics, and archival material to compare four migration waves from Chile to the United States since 1950. I argued that the intersection between nation’s relationships in the international system, its effects on the social and political conditions in the country of origin, and biographical aspects of emigrants determine not only the decision to migrate, but also the connections that they seek to maintain with the country of origin. You can read a review of my dissertation at Dissertation Reviews Online here.

I have taught sociology and history courses in Chilean universities and at MSU. I have presented my research in academic conferences in the US, Chile, Mexico and Argentina. I have published or under review articles and book chapters on exile in South America, migration policy in Chile, Chilean migrants in the US, and on the relationships between the state and its emigrants.

View my CV here (updated to August, 2016)

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