Blurring the Border

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Keynote and Featured Speakers



Roberto Lovato, UC Berkeley

Roberto Lovato is a writer and visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley. For many years, Roberto worked as strategist, an organization he co-founded and which became the country’s pre-eminent online Latino advocacy organization. Roberto is also the recipient of a crisis reporting grant from the Pulitzer Center. His work explores the intimate link between the online and offline worlds, between storytelling and organizing and between the mediated and unmediated life.

Roberto has written and spoken extensively about a number of critical issues including  climate change, national politics, immigration, Latin American politics, national security, race and race relations, and other issues. He is also a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine and the Huffington Post and his work has appeared in numerous publications including the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, the American Prospect, Mother Jones, Salon, Utne Magazine, La Opinion, and other national and international media outlets. He has also appeared as either a source or commentator in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, the Washington Post, the Economist and Le Monde Diplomatique and in English and Spanish language network news shows on MSNBC, Univision, BBC, CNN, NPR, Radio Bilingue, Democracy Now and Al-Jazeera. Lovato was also featured in the PBS documentary, ‘Latinos 08.’ Roberto’s investigative story about migrant worker exploitation in post-Katrina New Orleans, Gulf Coast Slaves, contributed to a Congressional investigation.

In the year 2000, Roberto and a committed group of students and faculty founded the first Central American Studies Program in the United States at California State University Northridge (CASP). Prior to committing to writing, Lovato was the former Executive Director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in Los Angeles, which was the largest immigrant rights organization in the country in the early 90’s. He led CARECEN during in its historic role in the birth of the contemporary immigrant rights movement, alongside Coalition for Humane Immigrant & One Stop Immigration, as leaders in the fight against California’s Proposition 187. Roberto has also supported refugee and displaced communities in wartime El Salvador, and has the unique and dubious distinction of being harassed and pursued for his beliefs on both sides of the border.

Featured Speakers

2010 Abrego social science picture


Leisy Abrego, UCLA

Leisy J. Abrego is Assistant Professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA. Trained as a sociologist, she studies families, Central American migration, and Latino immigrants’ lived experiences of U.S. immigration laws. Her book, Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders (Stanford University Press), examines the economic and emotional well-being of immigrants and their families—both in the United States and in the home country—as these are shaped by immigration policies and gendered expectations. She also conducts research on the well-being of mixed status Latino families and undocumented youth.



Matthew Coleman, Ohio State University

Dr. Mat Coleman (UCLA Geography, 2005) is a political geographer who works in the areas of critical geopolitics, law and geography, political economy, and particularly immigration law and policy. His research focuses on immigration enforcement in the U.S. and on the detention and deportation of mostly U.S.-bound undocumented laborers from the Western hemisphere. A major theme in Dr. Coleman’s research concerns the politics, policies, and practice of interior enforcement in so-called ‘non-border’ spaces. His research shows how the merger of immigration law enforcement, which governs the civil offense of undocumented entry and residence, with a broader realm of criminal law statute and practice has transformed immigration control from an outwards-looking power focused on stopping territorial entry to also an inwards-looking power focused on resident undocumented immigrant populations. Dr. Coleman’s research shows that the merger of civil immigration law and criminal law has made detention and deportation much more likely for undocumented immigrants who come into routine contact with state authorities in non-border spaces, and as such has shifted immigration policing into everyday sites of immigrant labor and social reproduction. His current research is focused on the importance of traffic enforcement to programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities.



Tanya Golash-Boza, University of California, Merced

Tanya Golash-Boza graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, a Certificate of Anthropology from L’Ecole d’Anthropologie in Paris, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of four books: 1) Due Process Denied (2012), which describes how and why non-citizens in the United States have been detained and deported for minor crimes, without regard for constitutional limits on disproportionate punishment; 2) Immigration Nation(2012), which provides a critical analysis of the impact that U.S. immigration policy has on human rights;  3) Yo Soy Negro: Blackness in Peru (2011), the first book in English to address what it means to be black in Peru; and 4) Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach (2014).  She has also published many articles in peer-reviewed journals on deportations, racial identity, U.S. Latinos/as and Latin America, in addition to essays and chapters in edited volumes and online venues such as Al Jazeera, The Nation, and Counterpunch. Her innovative scholarship was awarded the Distinguished Early Career Award from the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Studies Section of the American Sociological Association in 2010. In 2013, she was awarded the UC Merced Academic Senate Award for Distinguished Scholarly Public Service.

Tanya Golash-Boza’s most recent work is on the consequences of mass deportation. With funding from a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Award, she completed over 150 interviews with deportees in Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in 2009 and 2010. This research forms the basis of her book manuscript – Mass Deportation and Global Capitalism, forthcoming from New York University Press (2015).



Alfonso Gonzales, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Alfonso Gonzales is a professor of political science at UT Austin in the Department of Mexican American and Latino Studies and the author of Reform without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State (Oxford University Press, 2013). The book explores post-9/11 migration control policies and Latino migrant activism through the lens of neo-Gramsican theory and includes interviews with over 60 migrant activists in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, DC, as well as with deportees in Mexico and Central America.

His research has been published in the Journal of Latino Studies, Camino Real, Estudios de las Hispanidades Norteamericanas and the NACLA Report on the Americas, and with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. Professor Gonzales is a renowned public speaker and has lectured at major universities and conferences in the United States, Mexico, and Spain. He has lectured on aspects of his research at Cornell University, Rutgers University, the University of Chicago, the University of Arizona, Florida International University, the Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Institute of History and Anthropology of Mexico, and the University of Tarragona (Spain), among other institutions and conferences.

Nancy Plankey Videla

Nancy Plankey Videla

Nancy Plankey Videla is associate professor of sociology at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include the sociology of work, gender, globalization and development, Latin America, and Qualitative Methods. She is the author of the book, We are in this Dance Together: Gender, Power, and Globalization at a Mexican Garment Firm (Rutgers University Press, 2012), which won the 2013 Global Division Book Award. Her work has been published in Qualitative Sociology, Social Forces, Research in the Sociology of Work, and Feminist Studies. She was born in Chile, grew up in Mexico, and attended college in the United States. She received her PhD in sociology from the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her current research project examines the connection between precarious employment and health disparities among migrant sex workers and day laborers in Texas.


 Mary Romero, Arizona State University

Mary Romero is Professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. She received the American Sociology American Section on Race and Ethnicity Minorities 2009 Founder’s Award [Recognize career excellence in scholarship and service].  In 2004, she received the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Lee Founders Award 2004, the highest award made by the Society for the Study of Social Problems for a career of activist scholarship.  She is the author of The Maid’s Daughter, Living Inside and Outside the American Dream (NYU Press, 2011),  Maid in the U.S.A. (Routledge, 1992, Tenth Anniversary Edition 2002 ) and co-editor of When Care Work Goes Global, Locating the Social Relations of Domestic Work (Ashgate, 2014), Interdisciplinary and Social Justice: Revisioning Academic Accountability (SUNY Press, 2010),  Blackwell Companion to Social Inequalities (Blackwell 2005), Latino/a Popular Culture (NYU Press 2002), Women’s Untold Stories: Breaking Silence, Talking Back, Voicing Complexity  (Routledge, 1999), Challenging Fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latina Lives in the U.S. (Routledge, 1997), and Women and Work: Exploring Race, Ethnicity and Class (Sage, 1997).


Professor Zulema Valdez

Zulema Valdez, University of California, Merced

Zulema Valdez is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of California, Merced. She received her PhD from the UCLA Department of Sociology. Her interests include racial and ethnic relations, intersectionality, Latino/a sociology and economic sociology. She has been the recipient of several prestigious fellowship and grant foundations including the National Institute for Health, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. Her work has been published in social science journals including The Sociological Quarterly, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Social Science Quarterly, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Migraciones Internacionales, and is featured in several edited volumes. She is the author of the book, The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class and Gender Shape American Enterprise (Stanford University Press, 2011).  Her research examines how social group formations (based on race, class, gender, nativity and the like) affect the social and economic life chances of American workers and entrepreneurs. More recently, Zulema is investigating how legal status is changing the household economy of mixed status families. In a third area of research, she is investigating Latino/a health disparities in the Central Valley.



Marjorie Zatz, University of California, Merced

Marjorie S. Zatz is Vice Provost and Graduate Dean, and Professor of Sociology, at UC Merced. Her research and teaching interests address the ways in which race, ethnicity, and gender impact juvenile and criminal court processing and sanctioning, immigration policy, Chicano/a gangs, and comparative justice, particularly Latin American legal systems.  Dr. Zatz is the author of Producing Legality: Law and Socialism in Cuba(Routledge, 1994) and co-editor of Law and the Quest for Justice (Quid Pro Books, 2013), Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics, and Injustice(New York University Press, 2012, Images of Color, Images of Crime (third edition Oxford University Press, 2006, first edition 1998, second edition 2002, Roxbury Publishing Company), and Making Law: The State, the Law, and Structural Contradictions (Indiana University Press, 1993).  She has published more than 60 articles and chapters in scholarly journals and academic presses, including Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Law and Society Review, Violence Against Women, and Social Problems. 

Zatz’s honors and awards include the American Society of Criminology’s Herbert Block Award, the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime’s Senior Scholar Award; the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color and Crime’s Lifetime Acheivement Award and its Coraemae Richey Mann Award for Outstanding Scholarship on Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Justice; the Western Society of Criminology’s W.E.B. DuBois Award for Research on Race and the Administration of Justice and its Paul Tappan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Criminology. Dr. Zatz received her Ph.D. in 1982 in Sociology with a minor in Latin American Studies from Indiana University.

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