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Postdoctoral Fellows

Our Migrations postdoctoral fellows build interdisciplinary conversations and collaborations around the study of migration.

Eleanor Paynter

Eleanor Paynter

Eleanor Paynter graduated from The Ohio State University with a doctorate in comparative studies. Her work is in the area of critical refugee studies, incorporating approaches from narrative, media, and cultural studies to consider experiences and representations of precarious and undocumented migration, asylum, and human rights. Focused on the Black Mediterranean, her research and public writing respond to anti-immigrant racism and postcolonial border dynamics.Her dissertation received the International Studies Association’s 2021 Lynne Rienner Publishers Award for Best Dissertation in Human Rights.

Her current book project examines migration from Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, drawing on migrant testimonies produced in Italy to reconsider the common framing of irregular migration as a crisis or emergency. In addition, she's collaborating on a project about precarious mobilities and visual culture and is developing a study of European migration governance through social media analysis. Eleanor is also a poet and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Paynter has taught courses focused on migration, war and conflict, literature and film, Italian language, and writing and communication. She also hosts the Migrations initiative podcast, Migrations: A World on the Move.


Angel Escamilla Garcia

Ángel A. Escamilla García

Ángel A. Escamilla García is a PhD candidate in sociology and a presidential fellow at Northwestern University. His research focuses on how migrant youth negotiate high-risk environments. His current project uses ethnographic methods and interviews to explore the different strategies that Central American youth use to migrate through Mexico on their way to the United States. Since 2015, he has spent extensive time along the migrant route in Mexico and has interviewed Central American migrants, as well as a wide range of officials, aid workers, and stakeholders. His research reveals the capacity of Central American migrant youth to constantly adapt to their circumstances, employing a wide range of tactics to avoid the many harms and dangers of moving through Mexico.

Ángel also studies the role of rumor, reputation, legal consciousness, and illegality in shaping youths’ journeys. His research ultimately challenges the characterization of migration journeys as linear events and sheds important light on the role of journeys in shaping overall migration flows.