607 S Mathews Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801
Alana is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also completing a graduate minor in Gender and Women's Studies. Her research examines armed conflict, violence, and displacement across borders in the global South. Her dissertation project ethnographically documents Colombian refugees’ experiences of ongoing persecution and displacement in Ecuador, a place of supposed peace and arrival. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright Hays Program and the Social Science Research Council, among others. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Ecuador, and a B.A. in Spanish from Tufts University.
Migration, asylum, and refuge; critical refugee studies; forced displacement and armed conflict; feminist peace and security studies; Latin America; Ecuador and Colombia
Alana’s dissertation project engages the question: How do refugees experience violence and displacement in spaces and at times that are commonly considered “peaceful”? This project documents the widespread persecution that Colombian refugees experience in both Colombia and Ecuador in the wake of the 2016 Peace Accords. Based on 16 months of ethnographic research including participant observation and interviews, this project demonstrates how the “Colombian armed conflict” manifests across borders through intimate encounters between perpetrators and their victims in spaces of supposed refuge, and in “post-war” times. This dissertation contributes to a feminist peace and security studies by challenging binary understandings of armed conflict and its resolution.
2023-2024 United States Institute of Peace, Peace Scholar Award
Spring 2023 Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Anthropology Dept., UIUC
2020 Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, Fulbright-Hays
2020 Dissertation Travel Grant, Graduate College, UIUC
2020 Kilby Fellowship, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS), UIUC
2016 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship, Social Science Research Council
2016 Whitten Fellowship, CLACS, UIUC
2015 Tinker Foundation Fellowship, CLACS, UIUC
2015 Summer Research Grant, Anthropology Department, UIUC
Awards and Honors
2023 Prize for Research in the Humanities (best graduate student research), for the paper, “‘I Hope They Don’t Find Me Here:
Persecution, Encuentros, and Refuge Across Borders in the Global South,” Humanities Research Institute, UIUC
2023 Graduate Student Award in Applied and Public Anthropology, for the paper, “Resettlement Denied: Persecution, Refuge, and the
Violent Entrapment of Colombian Refugees in Quito, Ecuador,” the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.
2021 Mary Jane Neer Scholarship, Disability Resources & Educational Services, UIUC
2020 Teachers Ranked as Outstanding, UIUC
2019 Diversity Travel Grant, American Ethnological Society
2016 Changemaker Award, Live Oak School
2022, June 28. “For Colombians in Ecuador, Displacement is Ongoing, and Refuge is Elusive.” North American Congress on Latin America: https://nacla.org/colombians-ecuador-displacement-ongoing-and-refuge-elusive
2020, June 15. “Displaced in Place: On Being Forced to Move and Forced to Stay During a Global Pandemic.” In Gabriela Manley, Bryan M. Dougan, and Carole McGranahan (Eds.), American Ethnologist website: https://americanethnologist.org/online-content/collections/making-sense-of-things/urbana-champaign-displaced-in-place-on-being-forced-to-move-and-forced-to-stay-during-a-global-pandemic/
2014. La ley, el orden y el caos: construcción social del Estado y el inmigrante en Ecuador. Quito: Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales: https://editorial.iaen.edu.ec/libros/la-ley-el-orden-y-el-caos-construccion-social-del-estado-y-el-inmigrante-en-ecuador/