Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Migration, Race and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Sawyer Seminar Conference poster

Thursday, November 4 –
Friday, November 5, 2021

Register here to join the conference. 

A conference featuring scholars and activists exploring the dynamics of race, ethnicity in migration in the Americas. Please see below for the complete conference agenda:

Don't miss the Sawyer Seminar Musical Event hosted by CLACS tonight at 7pm after the conference! Register or tune in live on Watson's YouTube channel

Day 1

Thursday, November 4, 2021

9:00-9:20 Opening Remarks 

Patsy Lewis (Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University), 

Anthony Bogues (Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University), Brian Meeks (Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University).

Sawyer Seminar Series

9:30-11:00, Panel 1, Colonial Legacies and Movement: Who Is Part of the Nation? 

Moderator: Brian Meeks, Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University

  • “Territoriality, Mobility, Embodiment: Reflections on Shanique Myrie V. Barbados,”Alissa Trotz, Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Caribbean Studies, 

  • “The Aesthetics of Chinese Exclusion in the Américas,” Ana Paulina Lee, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University

  • “Mapping New Routes to Development: Chinese Mobilities and Networks in Central America,” Monica DeHart, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Puget Sound

  • “Coloniality, Development Discourse, Ethnoscapes and HIV in the Caribbean,” Percy C. Hintzen, Professor Emeritus, University of California Berkeley and Professor, Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University


11:15-12:45 Panel 2, Migrant Resistances to Settler Colonialism and Racialized Discrimination in Latin America

Moderator: Neil Safier, Associate Professor, Department of History, Brown University.

  • “When the ‘unorganizable’ organize: Exploring migrant domestic workers’ mobilization in Chile,” Cecília Rocha Carpiuc, Ph.D. Candidate, National University of San Martín.

  • “From Global Categories to Local Experiences: Climate Change, Gender, and Migration in Buenos Aires, Argentina,” Lucila Nejamkis, Cogut Visiting Professor, Brown University

  • “Representations and Realities: the Misrecognition of Indigenous Central American Women from Settler Colonialism to Human Trafficking,” Miranda Cady Hallett, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Dayton.


2:00-3:45  Panel 3, Afro-Migrants and Hemispheric Impacts on National Racial Identities

Moderator: Anthony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University

  • “Consequences of the Perception of Afro descendant and Indigenous Internally Displaced Women in Colombia,” Gina Escobar, PhD Candidate in Development Studies, University of Vienna

  • “‘Traitors to Their Class’: Populism and Racialization in Argentina,” Julia Fierman, College Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

  • “Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature & Symbolic Reparation: Migration, Forced Displacement and Exile,” Karyn Mota, Journalist and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University

  • “Anti-Racist Activism in Brazil,” Fatou Ndiaye, Brazilian activist. 

  • “Creole Miami: Quotidian Entanglements of the Americas,” Donette Francis, Director of the American Studies Program, University of Miami.


4:45-6:15  Panel 4, Up From the Margins: Latinx Voices in the Archive: A Roundtable on Advocacy, Inclusion, and Empowerment

Moderator: Patricia Figueroa, Curator of Iberian and Latin American Collections, Brown University

  • Jill Baron, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. 

  • Sarah Aponte, Chief Librarian, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and Associate Professor, The City College of New York Libraries.

  • Cynthia Tobar, Assistant Professor and the Head of Archives at Bronx Community College-CUNY. 


7:00-8:30 Performance: Frontera Bugalú, Danger AK, and Laura Guevara hosted by Eduardo Pinillos and Raúl Castagneto of Peru’s Martes de Salsa

Moderator: Richard Snyder, Professor of Political Science, Brown University

Watch on Watson's YouTube channel

Day 2

Friday, November 5, 2021

9:30 Opening Remarks

Edward Steinfeld (Director, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University)

9:40-11:00 a.m. Panel 1, Emerging Voices Discuss Migrant Transit Through Panama, Central America, and Mexico

Moderators: Erica Durante, Visiting Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies, Brown University and Kristen Kolenz, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University


Sabrina, Bajwa, Undergraduate student, Brown University

Teresa Conchas, Undergraduate student, Brown University

Felipe Felix Mendez, Undergraduate student, Brown University

Shantal Hernandez, Undergraduate student, Brown University

Alexandra Ali Martinez, Undergraduate student, Brown University

Nell Salzman, Undergraduate student, Brown University


11:15-1:00  Panel 2, Rethinking Transit: Migrant-led Challenges to Racism, Securitization, and Restricted Mobility

Moderator: Geri Augusto, Director, Undergraduate Development Studies and Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs, Brown University

  • “Paisanos, Refugees, Migrants, and Suspects at the Mexico-Guatemala Border,” Rebecca Galemba, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the DU Center for Immigration and Policy Research, University of Denver

  • “Ch’orti’ Maya Resistance, Forced Internal Migration, and Settler Colonial Borders in Central America,” Juanita Cabrera Lopez, Executive Director of the International Mayan League in Washington D.C., and Emil’ Keme (aka Emilio del Valle Escalante), Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • “Theorizing Contemporary Mesoamerica for Decolonial Migration Studies,” Kristen Kolenz, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University

  • “Una perspectiva sobre la migración centroamericana desde el periodismo y la defensa de los derechos humanos,” Dunia Aracely Montoya Medina, Coordinadora de la Asociación Comunicación Comunitaria (COMÚN), Yoro, Honduras

  • “Migrant Imaginaries in the Pursuit of Justice,” Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, Yale University 

2:00-3:30 Panel 3, Black Migration to the Global North: Challenging White Supremacy through History and Belonging

Moderator: Patsy Lewis

  • “Beyond Disaster Discourses: Haitian Migration and Mobility Justice Across the Americas,” Mimi Sheller, Dean of the Global School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  •  “The Persistence of American Supremacy: Anti-Blackness, Anthropology, and Black Asylum Seekers,” Christopher Loperena, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York

  • “Belonging Neither Here Nor There: Caribbean Radicalism and Revolutionary Epistemologies Across the 1960's Black Atlantic,” James Cantres, Assistant Professor, Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Hunter College

  • “Where the Sun Don't Shine,” Guerline M. Jozef, Executive Director, Haitian Bridge Alliance.

3:30-4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Patsy Lewis, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University