Victor Espinosa (Co-Organizer)

is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the OSU-Newark campus. A sociologist specializing in the intersection of art and migration, he is the author of El dilema del retorno: Migración, género y pertenencia en un contexto transnacional (El Colegio de Michoacán 1998), Martín Ramírez: Framing His Life and Art (University of Texas Press 2015), and Martín Ramírez: Arte, migración y locura (Fondo de Cultura Econoimica 2019). His most recent publication, Performances of Suffering in Latin American Migration: Heroes, Martyrs and Saints (Palgrave Macmillan 2020) is a collaborative book with OSU performance studies scholar Ana Elena Puga that combines historical, sociological analysis, and a theater/performance studies lens to understand how migrant suffering is framed and staged (by migrants, activists, artists, and advocates) to claim human rights for undocumented migrants. He has also collaborated in art catalogues that promote the artistic work produced by migrants, Latinx artists, and contemporary artists impacted by migrant suffering.

Danielle Schoon (Co-Organizer)

Danielle Schoon is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in Turkish, Roma, migration, and performance studies. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at OSU and also teaches courses on immigration in the departments of Sociology and Political Science. Her research focuses on the intersections of identity politics and performance in Roma (“Gypsy”) communities in Turkey. Publication highlights include the anthology chapters “Between Global Solidarity and National Belonging: The Politics of Inclusion for Romanlar in Turkey” in Roma Activism: Reimagining Power and Knowledge (2018) and “The Art of Presence: Staging Roma Bodies in Istanbul” in The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey (2021)as well as the articles, “‘Sulukule in the Gun and We are its Bullets’: Urban Renewal and Romani Identity in Istanbul” and “Istanbul Assemblages: Buildings and Bodies in a World City” in CITY: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action.

Schoon frequently takes advantage of professional development opportunities to improve her teaching and is an advocate of active learning and community engagement. Her most recent collaborative project with Melinda McClimans (Middle East Studies Center) and Cindy Jiang (Office of International Affairs) is funded by a University Institute of Teaching and Learning Research Implementation Grant and brings together OSU undergraduates with university students in Istanbul, Turkey, to connect and collaborate virtually and facilitate intercultural development.

Schoon is a co-PI of the collaborative virtual symposium, “Bringing the Border to Columbus,” along with Victor Espinosa (OSU Newark, Sociology). Born and raised in the Arizona borderlands, Schoon has both a personal and professional commitment to raising awareness about the injustices occurring on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Luke Stettner (Creative Consultant)

On May 1st, 1938, my grandfather Harry Casewitz took a single photograph of Manhattan from the fore of a steamship less than a kilometer from the gateway of Ellis Island. He took this photograph with a Leica III.  In a bazaar in Prague some sixty or so years later, I rubbed my finger over an engraved swastika atop the same model camera. The original photograph, for which there is no negative, would become incorporated into a piece of artwork I made that now sits in the dark of some storage unit in Bolzano, Italy, where it belongs to a collector. My great grandparents Fred and Erma Kassowitz would change the spelling of their surname to Casewitz; my mother would later shorten it to Case. What is the effect of this kind of assimilation and what are we to make of tiny erasures that fill our genetic line and fragment our identity? Here I have chosen to share a personal anecdote in addition to a ‘short bio.’ The task is the same: in what way does one choose to describe their own arrival?

Stettner has held eleven solo exhibitions to date, including a, b, moon, d, Storm King Art Center;  ri ve rr hy me sw it hb lo od , Kate Werble Gallery, NY; this single monument, The Kitchen, NY; no whiteness (lost) is so white as the memory of whiteness, Stene Projects, Stockholm.

Melissa Rodriguez (Event Coordinator)

I am a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the Ohio State University. I am broadly interested in topics of Immigration, Inequality, and Education. I am a Mexican first-generation immigrant and college student who moved to the United States with my parents at a young age. This large part of my identity has driven my desire to 1. Work with Latin@ populations, doing research that forwards awareness of the Latin@ experience in and around the U.S. and 2. Enable this population’s access to opportunities and higher education.  My Master’s thesis stems from qualitative research done on Mexican women’s autonomy in transnational relationships. In this project I explore the status locations of Mexican women in traditional patriarchal sites and the complex ways in which transnational relationship arrangements impact how women can (or cannot) enact power.

My other interest, and focus of future research, is access to education for Latin@/ (children of) immigrants/ first-generation college students. I have contributed to a group aiming to bring together qualitative and quantitative longitudinal data on first-generation college students across different demographic groups. As a Mexican immigrant and first- generation college student myself, I have some experience with the barriers, (dis) advantages, and required effort, this population encounters in accessing higher education. I feel it is important to  continually create efforts that allow under-represented/ minority students a chance to learn how to make their way through the U.S. education system. I know that in many ways I have been fortunate to obtain the level of education I have, and am committed to finding ways to help others do the same, especially in the the contemporary social/ political climate.

Needless to say, I am excited to fill the role of coordinator for this symposium focused on bringing awareness to the human impact of migration policy on the Mexico-U.S. borderlands.