Kelly Birch Maginot

Kelly Birch Maginot

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Curriculum Vitae

Dissertation Title: “Paperless Citizens: Perceptions and Practices of Citizenship among Salvadoran Retornados

Dissertation Committee: Stephanie Nawyn (chair), Soma Chaudhuri, Brendan Mullan, and Edward Murphy

Maginot_Edited.jpgDissertation: Kelly’s dissertation explores deported Salvadorans’ experiences of detention, deportation, reception, and reintegration, as well as their sense of belonging and political engagement after return. With support from an Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship and Tinker Field Research Grant, she conducted 125 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with deported migrants and their allies, scholars, and gatekeepers; 11 months of participant observation with deportees and other return migrants; and supplemental documentary analysis. She found that reintegration trajectories are shaped not only by migration history and gender, but also by age, sexuality, religion, and urban/rural settlement. Her results additionally revealed that deported people are often integrated and engaged before and after removal—socially, culturally, and even civically. In fact, deportees are beginning to organize in El Salvador and the rest of the Northern Triangle, recently forming a network of returned-migrant organizations to advocate for their rights. In this project, Kelly collaborated with one such organization to develop research questions, revise interview schedules, and interpret and disseminate results.

Kelly’s project is one of the first studies to consider deportees as potential change agents and explore their political beliefs and actions, both individually and collectively. She extends citizenship theorizing to include precarious migrants—many with substantive citizenship in the U.S.—after direct encounters with the homeland security state and forced return to a nation in which they are de jure but perhaps not de facto citizens. Her research also enabled her to follow the development of deportee-led initiatives and groups in El Salvador, a nascent but important area of study for scholars of migration, development, and collective behavior.