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.

Summer School "Cultures, Migrations, Borders"

Observatory of Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean

Virtual Workshop

"Migrations and Borders in the Age of the Pandemic"

November 20-21 , 2020


The Summer School “Cultures, Migrations, Borders”of the Department of Social Anthropology and History of the University of the Aegean, Greece, in collaboration with the “Observatory of Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean” (and with the co-sponsorship of the “Global Studies Center”, University of Pittsburgh, and the “Center for European and Russian Studies”, UCLA), will host a virtual two-day workshop on Migrations and Borders in the Age of the Pandemic. The workshop will take place on 20-21 November, 2020.

The first day will be a reflexive, self critical appraisal of the long term experience of teaching and attending the Summer School on Lesvos, an island that occupies an emblematic place in the migration/border regime over the last few years. The panel will be addressed to ex-students and lecturers.

The panels on the second day will be open to the general public and will discuss how the present health crisis offers an opportunity to critically assess the exclusionary potential of bordering against the pandemic, while rethinking the dominant (im)mobility regime.

Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Michel Agier
  • Ruben Andersson
  • Alexandra Bounia
  • Jean Beaman
  • Shahram Khosravi
  • Jason de Leon
  • Hans Lundt
  • Sevasti Trubeta
  • Effie Voutira

Registration information will be provided soon. For further information, please contact Dr. Heath Cabot, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Past Events

Please join us for the 24 Hour viewing of the Documentary Border South (available in English and Spanish) on September 24th, 2020.

Opening installment of the webinar series that seeks to expand transnational, transregional, and interdisciplinary exchange on contemporary and historical issues in Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Studies:

Friday, October 2, 1-2:30 PM, Virtual, "Transnational Dialogues in Afrolatinidad: Migration, Policing and Political Movements" co-moderated by GSC Faculty Fellow Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez and Dr. George Reid Andrews, a Distinguished Professor of History.

Featured panelists include: Dr. Eddie Bonilla, UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow in Latinx Studies at the University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Jennifer Jones of the University of Illinois at Chicago; Dr. Zachary Morgan of Penn State University; and Dr. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry of Brown University.

Missed the Webinar? View it here



Past Events

International Symposium: Deexceptionalizing Displacement? Rethinking Citizenship and Mobility

March 22-23, 2019, University of Pittsburgh 

Organized by: Heath Cabot, University of Pittsburgh and Georgina Ramsay, University of Delaware

With increasing forms of precarity across the globe, there is a need to call attention to sites of struggle that bridge assumed divisions between ”migrants,” “refugees,” and “citizens.” These include access to housing, safety, thriving neighborhoods, healthcare, food, education, childcare, the labor market, and other shared needs. What would it mean to de-exceptionalize displacement, rethinking mobility and citizenship alike

Sponsored By: The Office of the Provost, the Global Studies Center, and the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) at the University of Pittsburgh

Download or view the event flyer here.


Undergraduate Conference in the Modern Languages: “Migrations of Cultures”

March 22-23, 2019, University of Pittsburgh

Our keynote speaker will be Dr Katelyn Knox, Asst. Professor of French at the University of Central Arkansas, author of Race on Display in 20th and 21st Century France (University of Liverpool Press, 2016). 

Topics could include:

§  Multilingual societies and their conflicts ("language wars") and advantages

§  Linguistic landscapes and their evolution

§  Translation as a political tool

§  Literatures of the diaspora

§  Circulation of texts through multiple areas and in multiple languages

§  Travel literature through the ages

§  Exiles, migrants, and refugees

§  Processes of acculturation

§  The politics of cultural production

§  Films and the problems of cultural translation


Migrations Brown Bag Series

Brown Bag is a monthly seminar for faculty to learn about the research currently going on at Pitt in the area of migrations. Each month a faculty member will give a presentation about their ongoing research projects or an introduction to their research agendas. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend. All events in the Migrations Brown Bag Series will take place in 4130 Posvar Hall.

To receive email announcements, send an email to sbv2@pitt.edu.

Spring 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019

Who: Osea Giuntella (Department of Economics)

Title: "Migration and the health trajectories of immigrants and host country residents"

Description: "Why are immigrant healthier than host country residents despite being poorer? Why does their health deteriorate as they climb the social ladder? What is the impact of immigration on the health care system of receiving countries? What are the health consequences of the labor market effects of immigration on natives? And how does ethnic diversity affect our habits? This talk will try to shed light on some of these questions."

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Monday, March 18, 2019

Who: Yolanda Covington (Department of Africana Studies)

Title: "Mobility, Displacement, and Black Privilege in the Experiences of Liberian Migrants, Refugees, and Returnees"

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 pm


All inquiries can be directed to Prof. Giuseppina Mecchia, at mecchia@pitt.edu.


Course on Mobility and Displacement by Heath Cabot (Anthropology)

Th 6:00PM - 8:30PM

What does it mean to belong, or not to belong? What does it mean to be mobile? What is a home, a homeland, home country, or nation? How do experiences of migration, exile, and displacement shift one's understanding of home? Warfare, statecraft, and political violence, and recent environmental and social disasters, are giving rise to forms of belonging, mobility, and displacement that do not fit within traditional categories.  War and political violence destabilize national borders while reinforcing structures of power that bolster or mimic nation-state forms.  Environmental disaster and poverty cause displacements that cannot be classified purely in terms of either "economic" or "forced" migration, but produce composite categories which, as of yet, have no formal legal foothold, such as "economic" or "environmental" refugees. 


Spring 2018

Monday, January 28, 2019

Who: Faina Linkov (Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences)

Title: "Global Trends in Migrant Health:Epidemiology Prospective"

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Fall 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018

Who: Nicole Constable (Department of Anthropology)

Title: “Passports and Migratory Entanglements: Preliminary Thoughts on a Book Project” 

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Humanities Center workshop on November 29th on El Teatro Campesino:

November 29, 2018 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Elizabeth Rodrigues Fielder (English, with responses from Bill Scott (English) and Mike Sell (IUP, English)

During the 1960s and 1970s, American minority artists involved in social movement activism produced work that would seek to revolutionize the relationship between art and politics. My book tells the story of the artistic side of organizing during the civil rights movement, what I refer to as cultural activism. Through performance and experimental media, creative production offered ways for people to debate political ideologies while still maintaining solidarity with the movement. I argue that internal dissent, rather than unity, shaped creative expression emerging from civil-rights-era social movements. The chapter I will workshop centers on the early plays of El Teatro Campesino, a collective ensemble that developed from the strikes and protests that would lead to the creation of the United Farm Workers of America. 

Global Migration: The Case of the Volhynian Germans

Monday, November 5


History Department Lounge, 3703 Posvar Hall

Jan Musekamp will talk on migration schemes of a German-speaking group that used to live in Ukraine. After the 1880s, the worsening economic and political situation in the Russian Empire forced many of these people to move to other regions in the world, such as Siberia, Canada, Brazil or Germany. Eventually, Hitler's population policies put an end to German-speaking settlements in Ukraine, with the descendants scattered all over the world but still connected today.

Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center,

The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State

Thursday, November 1

5201 Posvar Hal

John Torpey will be discussing the new edition of his book The Invention of the Passport. Dr. Torpey is Professor of Sociology and History and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, CUNY.

Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center,







Michael Goodhart

Michael Goodhart is Professor of Political Science, and he holds secondary appointments in Philosophy and in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. His current research focuses on questions to do with global injustice and responsibility for injustice.  He is also interested in thinking about new modes of political theorizing for the Anthropocene. His core intellectual interests are in the theory and practice of democracy and human rights in the context of globalization and in related questions concerning global justice, democratic governance, and political responsibility at the transnational level.
Dr. Goodhart is co-president of the Association for Political Theory; he is an affiliate of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, a member of the Center for Ethics and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and sits on several editorial boards. In 2008-2009 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research fellow and Guest Professor in the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. 

Contact about: GSC Research Initiatives, Ideas about Interdiciplinary Projects and Collaboration

Michele Reid-Vazquez


Each year, the GSC selects as its Faculty Fellow one outstanding University of Pittsburgh colleague whose scholarship advances the Center's mission. Michele Reid-Vazquez is Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and a specialist in African Diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Atlantic World, and Afro-Latinx History in the U.S. As the 2020-2021 GSC Faculty Fellow, Dr. Reid-Vazquez will convene an interdisciplinary conference entitled, "Transnational Dialogues in Afrolatinidad" and create a new undergraduate course that will feature a student research poster exhibit. The goal of the project is to expand transnational, transregional, and interdisciplinary research, education, and programming in the global arenas of Afro-Latin American Afro-Latinx studies. The intersections of race, ethnicity, and migration continue to shape contemporary societies through the complex confluence of blackness and identity in the Americas. These endeavors will facilitate scholarly knowledge and expand our understanding of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx studies and the global issues at its core. 

John Walsh


Research Interests: Haitian Studies; Caribbean Literature and History; Postcolonial Ecocriticism; Francophone Afro-Diasporic Literature.