The Global Studies Migrations Initiative asks how different forms of movement, mobility, and displacement might be studied beyond categorical and national boundaries in ways that take account of the shifting terrains that constitute migrations.

Movements across national borders and forms of mobility and displacement that take place within those borders are typically either conceived as wholly distinct or indistinguishable. Either approach makes it difficult to think rigorously about the diverse and often interrelated processes that influence peoples’ movements and the ways in which they deal with the challenges posed by boundaries of all kinds (national but also class, racial, historical…) and by increasing forms of precariousness. Further, this focus on the people who move often neglects the communities into which they move, obscuring the complex social dynamics that result from their movements. Through this initiative, we hope to draw attention to less visible forms of movement and displacement, such as gentrification, incarceration, professional relocation, and long histories of dispossession and to relate them critically to cross-border migrations and displacements.

Amani Attia


Coming from a literature background, Amani Attia is interested in the modern Arabic novel, and modern critical theory. She has written and presented on modern literary works applying theories of postcolonialism, feminism, and deconstruction.

Jerome Branche

Jerome Branche is Professor of Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh. His teaching and his research focus on racialized modernity and the way creative writers across the Atlantic imagine and write about slavery, freedom, the nation, being, and gender. He has served on the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), and as chair of the Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).
He is currently serving, as well, as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana. At the Instituto he is editing a series of afro-related narratives and critical works, the Serie Malunga.  Branche’s books to date include Colonialism and Race in Luso-Hispanic Literature (Missouri 2006), and The Poetics and Politics of Diaspora: Transatlantic Musings (Routledge 2014).
Branche also edited, most recently Post/Colonialism and the Pursuit of Freedom in the Black Atlantic (Routledge 2018), and Black Writing, Culture and the State in Latin America, and other collections and journal articles. His current book projects study the necropolitics of slavery, and race in the imaginary of empire and its aftermath.

Cynthia Croot

Cynthia Croot is a director, deviser, writer and activist, and serves as Associate Professor and Head of Performance at the University of Pittsburgh. Croot earned her MFA in Directing from Columbia University under the tutelage of Anne Bogart, Robert Woodruff, Andrei Serban, and Kristin Linklater. U.S. directing credits include: John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar (Perseverance Theatre, Juneau); Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (Colorado Shakespeare Festival); Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and the company-created chamber musical The Millay Sisters (Stonington Opera House) as well as productions in NYC at PS122, HERE, Town Hall, The Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, Symphony Space, and the Guggenheim Museum.
A 2007-2009 Fellow of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors, Croot is also Resident Director of the NYC-based theatre company Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant. With her company, she has staged experimental audience-immersive and site-specific work in NYC, the Cleveland Public Theatre, OH; The Motherlodge Festival, Louisville, KY; North American Culture Lab, NY; and American Repertory Theatre’s "Club Oberon" in Cambridge, MA. Croot’s direction helped earn Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant two 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Awards. In 2015, she co-founded the activist art collective Ifyoureallyloveme with poet Joy Katz. Their first project: One Large, a piece about race and money, has been performed at the Open Engagement Conference, Pittsburgh, the Theatre Communications Group Conference, Washington, DC, and at Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY.
Among her international credits, Croot toured Suzan-Lori Park’s Venus in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, during the historic moment of Sara Baartman's repatriation and burial. Her benefit U.S. stagings of VENUS at the Public Theater and Gatehouse (NYC) featured Tim Robbins, Joe Morton, Jayne Houdyshell, Arliss Howard and Kathleen Chalfant. In 2008 she received a TCG/ITI grant for travel to Croatia for another incarnation of the Venus Project: using it as a lens to examine the sex trafficking industry in Eastern Europe.
In 2004/5 Croot represented U.S. artists on a five-person delegation to Damascus University, Syria. This exchange, originally organized by the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University and the U.S. State Department, helped shape her ongoing commitment to forging cross-cultural understanding through innovative use of the arts and media. Croot has since been a guest speaker at the Fadjr International Theatre Festival in Tehran, and was recently invited to join ArtUp's Sites of Passage – a collaborative project involving partners from the US, Israel and Palestine – interrogating the concepts of borders and nations. In 2017 she launched “Taking Refuge,” an examination of the current refugee crises around the world by artists, activists, journalists, academics, and individuals directly affected by war and political violence. The project premiered last spring in cooperation with Colgate University, the College of Charleston, College of the Holy Cross, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Louisiana State University, Noor Theatre company, Roehampton University UK, the University of Colorado, and Washington College, MD.

Lina Insana

Lina Insana’s research and teaching focuses on modern and contemporary Italian cultural production. Most of her work on Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi is concerned with textual mediation, translation, and adaptation; newer research—on Sicilian cultural belonging and manifestations of italianità in the American interwar period (1919-1939)—seeks to interrogate formations of transnational identity at the margins of conventionally-accepted definitions of Italianness.
Her first book, Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony (U of Toronto Press, 2009) examines Primo Levi’s testimonial work through the lens of translation, broadly understood as a mediating and interpretive mode that creates spaces of testimonial agency for the survivor-author. This work was recognized both by the MLA (Scaglione Italian Manuscript Prize, 2007) and the American Association of Italian Studies (20th c. Prize, 2009). Her current manuscript-in-progress, “Charting the Island: Sicilian Position and Belonging from Unification to the European Union,” is a geocritical cultural history of Sicilian belonging under the modern Italian State (1861-present), defining belonging not in terms of individual subjectivities but in critical geographical and spatial-rhetorical terms. As its title suggests, the project develops a theory of ‘charting’ as the way in which producers of culture (both individual Sicilian and continental agents, as well as collective or institutional agents such as those that emerge from encyclopedias, journals, tourism brochures, laws, policies, political and military displays, etc.) locate, map out, and generate a variety of Sicilian geocultural positions, as well as the affiliations, associations, and distances that make them possible within configurations such as 'Italy," the "Mediterranean,' and 'Europe.' The book’s analyses draw on extensive research in and attention to three broadly-defined historical periods (post-Unification Italy; Italian Fascism; post-Schengen Italy), each of which illustrates different crises of the Italian body politic to which Sicily has ostensibly belonged since the 1861 unification (or Risorgimento) of Italy. Charting the Island draws on both literary and non-literary texts from the last hundred years or so: Messina's post-earthquake urban shantytown; Mussolini’s 1937 visit to Sicily to project military force from the island to war-torn Spain on one hand and its nascent Empire on the other; the proposed construction of the Bridge of the Straits; the political theatre of immigration and the symbolic valence of Lampedusa.
She is also engaged in a third book-length project that explores expressions of italianità in North American Italian “colonies” between the first and second World Wars through institutions and cultural icons that helped immigrant communities to negotiate complex and often competing civic identities. Her work in Italian American Studies also extends to research on children’s literature (“Strega Nona’s Ethnic Alchemy,” MELUS 31.2) and teaching (“Italian America on Screen”).
Prof. Insana has served two terms (2013-2019) as Chair of the Department of French & Italian (serving as summer Chair from 2010-2013) and has been Director of Graduate Studies in Italian since 2010. From 2016-2018 she was Chair of Pitt's Humanities Council. Since 2012 she has been the lead organizer of Pittsburgh’s Italian Film Festival USA, a curated festival of contemporary Italian Cinema that takes place every spring on Pitt’s campus.

John Lyon

John Lyon teaches courses ranging from both graduate and undergraduate seminars on Literary and Cultural Theory, Realism, Romanticism, and Aesthetic History, to large-enrollment undergraduate lectures on Indo-European Folktales.
His research interests include German literature, philosophy and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In his book, Crafting Flesh, Crafting the Self: Violence and Identity in Early 19th Century German Literature (Bucknell University Press, 2006), he analyzes wounded human bodies in early nineteenth-century German literature and traces their connection to changing philosophical models of the self.
His most recent book, Out of Place. German Realism, Displacement, and Modernity (Bloomsbury, 2013), reads the literature of German Realism (Raabe, Keller, and Fontane) in terms of philosophical conceptions of place, specifically as a reaction to the changing sense of place resulting from the rise of capitalism, industrialism, and the metropolis during the nineteenth century.
He has co-edited volumes on Goethe, Fontane, and Joint Authorship in the Age of Goethe and published articles on German Realism, Theodor Fontane, Wilhelm Raabe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Georg Büchner, Clemens Brentano, Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Caspar Lavater, Novalis, Friedrich Hölderlin and Friedrich Schiller and presented widely on topics in eighteenth and nineteenth century literature, culture, and philosophy.

Barbara McCloskey

Barbara McCloskey has published widely on the relationship between art and politics in 20th century German art, the visual culture of World War II, and artistic mediations of the experience of exile in the modern and contemporary eras.  Her most recent book, The Exile of George Grosz: Modernism, America, and the One World Order, was published by University of California Press in January 2015.  Her lecture courses and seminars cover the history of art in 20th century Germany, international Dada and Surrealism, critical theory, and art historical methodology.  Graduate students working under her supervision have developed MA and PhD theses on topics ranging from art and photography in Weimar and the Third Reich to studies of 1930s American muralism and leftist art history, East German art and design, Czech surrealism, and issues of nationalism and populism in Russian fin-de-siéclè and early 20th century Croatian art.  Many of her students have competed successfully for prestigious national and international awards including DAAD, Wolfsonian, Fulbright, Berlin Prize, and Fulbright-Hayes fellowships.

Josephine Olson

Josephine (Jo) Olson teaches courses in managerial economics and international economics, and has conducted study trips to Europe and Latin America. She is an associate of the Center for Latin American Studies, the European Studies Center, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Asian Studies Center, and the Global Studies Program. From 2006 to 2014 she was Director of the International Business Center. She was secretary of the University Senate from 2002 to 2005. She previously served as director of MBA Programs and Associate Dean. Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh, she was on the faculty of Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York.
Jo’s research interests include topics in international economics and a study of career paths and income determinants of MBAs.
Jo has been a member of the District Export Council of Western Pennsylvania since 2008. Earlier she served for 12 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). In the fall of 1991 she was a Fulbright Fellow at the International Management Center in Budapest, Hungary. She was visiting professor of economics at the Czechoslovak Management Center in winter 1992. In 1993-94 she was a visiting professor at Nyenrode University in the Netherlands and in 1994-95 she was academic dean and interim CEO of the Czech Management Center. She has consulted with public and private agencies with regard to public policy toward transportation and utility rate-setting and international economics. She has also done some educational consulting.

B. Guy Peters


"I am currently working on two major book projects.  One is on the “Inclusive State”, that will discuss the processes by which states develop more inclusive policies and practices.  The second is on alternative forms of governance–hierarchy, markets, society, expertise and participation–and the choices that must be made among them.  In addition I am launching an international research project on political patronage, building on a recently completed book on Latin America and another forthcoming book on Asia."

Burcu Savun


Burcu Savun is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in International Relations. Her primary research interests include civil wars, terrorism, conflict resolution, forced migration, and refugees. Her research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Journal of Peace Research.

John Walsh

Professor Walsh’s research and teaching take shape at the intersection of Caribbean Studies, especially the literature and history of Haiti, Francophone Postcolonial Studies more broadly, and the Environmental Humanities. He works on contemporary literature, as well as the texts and media of earlier periods of the French Atlantic and Caribbean. He also focuses on theories of transnationalism and globalization.
His first book, Free and French in the Caribbean: Toussaint Louverture, Aimé Césaire and Narratives of Loyal Opposition (Indiana UP, 2013), is a work of literary and historical analysis of the texts of Toussaint Louverture and Aimé Césaire and the two events that defined them, the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the transformation of Martinique from French colony to overseas department (1946). Free and French in the Caribbean makes two central claims: the revolution and departmentalization share a deep connection, despite a narrative that long opposed Haitian independence to the assimilation of Martinique into France; and the writings of both statesmen-authors reveal the colonial origins of French republicanism. The book proposes a narrative filiation between Toussaint and Césaire in order to problematize the apparent union of universal rights and sovereignty that supports the republican principle of “Free and French,” a phrase pronounced in the first French abolition of slavery in 1794 and reiterated in Toussaint’s 1801 Constitution.
His second book, Migration and Refuge: An Eco-Archive of Haitian Literature, 1982-2017 (Liverpool UP, 2019), argues that contemporary Haitian literature historicizes the political and environmental problems brought to the surface by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti by building on texts of earlier generations, especially at the end of the Duvalier era (1957-1986) and its aftermath. Informed by Haitian studies and models of postcolonial ecocriticism, the book conceives of literature as an “eco-archive,” or a body of texts that depicts ecological change over time and its impact on social and environmental justice. Focusing equally on established and less well-known authors, the book contends that the eco-archive challenges future-oriented, universalizing narratives of the Anthropocene and the global refugee crisis with portrayals of different forms and paths of migration and refuge within Haiti and around the Americas.
Professor Walsh has advised graduate dissertations and undergraduate honors theses in interdisciplinary projects on many forms of cultural production and on a range of topics, including, among others, migration, transnational identity, humanitarianism, and environmental justice. He enjoys collaborating with colleagues and students in the department and across the Humanities to organize lectures and conferences that bring distinguished scholars, writers, and artists to Pitt.