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Leila Rodriguez

Title: Associate Professor
Office: 450 Braunstein Hall
Tel: 513-556-5783

I am a cultural anthropologist and demographer whose research centers on the local-level integration of migrants. Framed by theories of displacement, "illegality", politics of representation and the anthropology of the good, I ask how multiple perspectives and representation of migrants shape their integration, how policies, institutions and communities shape inclusion and exclusion of migrants, and how anthropological research can impact local policy.

My second line of research examines the use of culture as judicial evidence – provided by anthropological expert witnesses – in legal conflicts that involve immigrants and refugees. 

I also have a passion for research methods and seek to explore 

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, 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 2013 Rodriguez, Leila “Entrepreneurial Practices of Nigerian Immigrants in New York: Structure, Agency, and Continuity and Change (in Spanish) Revista Comunicación, Política y Cultura 4(1)127-145
  • 2008 Rodriguez, Leila “Migration Flows and Contexts of Reception: Guatemalans in Four Destinations” (in Spanish) Revista Centroamericana de Ciencias Sociales 5(1): 5-42
  • 2008 Cohen, Jeffrey, Leila Rodriguez and Margaret Fox “Gender and Migration in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca” International Migration 46(1)79-101
  • 2006 Jensen, Leif, Jeffrey H. Cohen, Jacqueline Almeida Toribio, Gordon F. DeJong, and Leila Rodriguez “Ethnic Identities, Language, and Economic Outcomes of Dominicans in Reading, Pennsylvania: a Research Note” Social Science Quarterly 87(5)1088-1099
  • 2005 Rodriguez, Leila and Jeffrey H. Cohen “Generations and Motivations: Russian and Other Former Soviet Immigrants in Costa Rica.” International Migration 43(4): 147-165
  • 2005 Cohen, Jeffrey H. and Leila Rodriguez “Remittance Outcomes in Rural Oaxaca, Mexico: Challenges, Options and Opportunities for Migrant Households” Population, Space and Place 11(1):49-63

Book Chapter

  • 2014 Tyldum, Guri, Leila Rodriguez, Ingunn Bjorkhaug and Anna Wojtynska. “Deciding On and Distributing Incentives in RDS” In: Lisa Johnston and Guri Tyldum (eds) Applying Respondent-Driven Sampling to Migrant Populations. Lessons from the Field. London: Palgrave pp.49-61
  • 2014 Johnston, Lisa, Leila Rodriguez and Joanna Napierala “Measuring Personal Network Size in RDS” In: Lisa Johnston and Guri Tyldum (eds) Applying Respondent-Driven Sampling to Migrant Populations. Lessons from the Field. London: Palgrave pp.27-36
  • 2014 Rodriguez, Leila “Emigration of Costa Ricans Abroad: Numbers, Traits, and their Importance for the Country’s Development” (in Spanish) In: INEC – Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (ed). Costa Rica a la Luz del Censo 2011. pp.281-306

Honors & Awards

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

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 2013 to 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