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Leila Rodriguez

Title: Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies
Office: 450 Braunstein Hall
Tel: 513-556-5783

I am a cultural anthropologist and demographer whose research centers on the local-level management of cultural diversity that stems from international migration. I study how immigrants and refugees are integrated into cities and neighborhoods, including their socioeconomic integration and mobility, community reception, identity, and the social and cultural production of legality/illegality. I also research the use of culture as judicial evidence – provided by expert witnesses – in legal conflicts that involve immigrants and refugees.

Ultimately, my goal is but a single one: to contribute, through sound empirical and ethnographic research, to a better understanding and management of international migration and cultural diversity.

Regional interests: Central America, Africa, U.S.

For more information:


  • PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2009 (Anthropology and Demography).
  • MA, Pennsylvania State University, 2004 (Anthropology and Demography).
  • BA, Universidad de Costa Rica, 2002 (Anthropology).

Research Information

Research Support

  • Wenner-Gren Foundation Workshop Grant. Theory, Epistemology, and Ethics of Anthropological Cultural Expertise in the Americas. . 2015.
  • National Science Foundation DDRG, Economic Adaptation and the Self-Employment Experience of Nigerian Immigrants in New York City.. 2007.
  • National Science Foundation REG Grant, Social Networks of Russian Immigrants in Costa Rica. . 2003.


Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Maximizing Social Proximity in Market Relations: The Networks of Nigerian Immigrant Business Owners in New York City. Research in Economic Anthropology. 36:117-140
  • 2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Valorizando los Efectos de las Emigraciones y las Remesas: Una Comunidad Costarricense Ante la (Re)Estructuración de Jerarquías de Género y Clas. Cuadernos de Antropología 26(1)7-16
  • 2018 Casanova, Erynn Masi, Leila Rodriguez and Rocio Roldan Bueno. Informed but Uninsured: Labor Conditions and Social Protection Among Domestic Workers in Guayaquil. Latin American Perspectives 45(1)163-174
  • 2014 Rodriguez, Leila.  "A Cultural Anthropologist as Expert Witness: A Lesson in Asking and Answering the Right Questions". Practicing Anthropologist 36(3)6-10
  • 2014 Rodriguez, Leila. The Transnational Political Participation of Nigerian Immigrants: Motivations, Means and Constraints. Journal of International and Global Studies 6(1)50-71
  • 2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Alcance Teórico y Práctico del Transnacionalismo: La Participación Política de los Inmigrantes Nigerianos en la Ciudad de Nueva York. Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana 47:45-58
  • 2018 Rodriguez, Leila "Introduction to the Special Issue: Convergences, Challenges, and Future Directions in the Use of Cultural Expert Evidence in Legal Proceedings" Studies in Law, Politics and Society 74:1-10
  • 2017 Rodriguez, Leila "El Uso del Peritaje Cultural-Antropológico como Prueba Judicial en América Latina: Reflexiones de un Taller Internacional” Revista Uruguaya de Antropología y Etnografía 2(1)103-112

Honors & Awards

  • Community-Engaged Research Award, University of Cincinnati Office of the Provost, 2017 to 2018.

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 2013 to Present, Cultural Expert Witness,.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 1001: Cultural Anthropology

  • ANTH 3065: Anthropology of International Migration

  • ANTH 4070: Economic Anthropology

  • ANTH3067: Demographic Anthropology

  • ANTH3060H : Problem-Solving the World's Refugee Crisis

  • ANTH2076: Culture in the Courtroom