Conference Schedule

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Opening Session
Robert A. Jones ‘59 House conference room

US and Latin America: Organizing Across Borders

US and Latin America: Organizing Across Borders, a panel

This panel will open the First Annual Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs student conference, Immigration in the Neoliberal Age. The panel will consists of the following three presentations:

There are approximately 1200-1500 migrant workers that sustain Vermont’s iconic dairy farms and turn profits for Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese and other famous Vermont brands. Natalia Fajardo and another representative from Migrant Justice will speak about their organizing efforts to improve working living conditions for migrant workers in Vermont, including the development of farmworker-grown media projects and fair food systems. They will also share their visions for local, national and international alternatives to discriminatory anti-immigrant policies and practices.

Communities across Mexico and the US are building autonomy as an alternative to neoliberalism. Stuart Schussler will speak to the work of the Mexico Solidarity Network (MSN), based in Chicago’s Albany Park Autonomous Center. He will offer a history and analysis of immigration between Mexico and the US and responses from Chicago’s immigrant movement for autonomous organizing. Stuart Schussler is a professor of social movement analysis on the Study Abroad and Master’s programs and also a speaking tour coordinator. He holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales- Ecuador and a BA from DePauw University. His previous work includes popular education work teaching English as a second language, human rights observation concerning a mining conflict in Intag, Ecuador and work with undocumented Colombian refugees organizing for their rights in Quito.

Mary E. Mendoza will speak about the history of the U.S.-Mexico border with a specific focus on how both the United States and Mexico built border fences for various reasons over the course of the twentieth century. Professor Mendoza is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Davis and a Ford Foundation Fellow. She is working on writing an environmental history of the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to border fences, Mendoza looks at race, gender, and public health in the borderlands. 

A Q&A session will follow the panel.


Friday, January 17th, 2014

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Workshop
Hillcrest 103, The Orchard

Understanding Neoliberal Globalization: A Workshop

What is neoliberalism? Professor of sociology Jamie McCallum and Molly Stuart ‘15.5 will lead a workshop on the history of neoliberalism, tracing its political and geographic development and its effects on various interest groups. By paying particular attention to changes in the global movement of commodities and labor, we will better understand the structural causes of economic conditions that induce migration. We will take a specific look at the role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Free Trade agreements, and nation-states in privatization and development projects. Using various activities and media, we will draw upon the knowledge of participants with varying backgrounds and disciplines to build a collective understanding. Light refreshments will be served.

Jamie McCallum is an assistant professor of sociology at Middlebury College and author of the book Global Unions, Local Power. His scholarship specializes in the sociology of globalization and the sociology of labor.

Molly Stuart is a third-year student studying sociology and has spent the past semester studying neoliberalism on a study-abroad program in Mexico. 

8:00 p.m. Screening
Sunderland 110

Last Train Home: A Documentary

Last Train Home is a documentary about the largest internal migration in the world that takes place every year. The film chronicles the personal story of the Zhangs, a family of migrant factory workers in China, to reveal the human story behind the billions of products stamped “Made in China.” Filmmaker Lixin Fan has won over 5 film festival awards for Last Train Home, which Indiewire calls “a documentary masterpiece.”

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

11:00 - 12:00 p.m.
Robert A Jones ‘59 House conference room

Climate Change, Development, and Migration 

Colin Rajah will discuss the impact of the neoliberal global economy on climate and global migration, including the promises of “false solutions”, anti-immigrant co-optation in the mainstream environmental movement and “the greening of hate,” as well as the need for a climate justice movement among immigrant communities and advocates.  This discussion includes a critique of the current trend to achieve narrow legislation nationally and internationally at the cost of climate justice and immigrant rights.  

Colin Rajah is the International Coordinator of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), a global coalition of regional and international movements taking strategic initiatives together to around international policies that impact migration.

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Robert A. Jones ‘59 House conference room

Pan African Defense of Migrants’ Rights 

On October 3rd, 2013, a boat capsized, killing nearly 400 African refugees off of the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. This made international news for a brief period, with global leaders vowing “never again” and promising to curb “irregular migration.” Stories of large numbers of Africans heading to Europe fuel extreme nationalism and xenophobic fear but are far from fact and not the story Africans tell. Migration discourse rarely focuses sufficiently on Africa, and certainly not favorably. Presented by Nunu Kidane, this lecture will bring an overview of Africa in global migration within the framework of neoliberal globalization.  

Nunu Kidane is an Eritrean activists and Director of the Priority Africa Network based in Oakland California. She is also a founding member of the Pan African Network in Defense of Migrants Rights (PANiDMR) and the US-based Black Immigration Network (BIN).

2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Robert A. Jones ‘59 House conference room

Abuse and Aid on the U.S.-Mexico Border

At 1,954 miles (3,145km) in length and traversing a variety of terrains, the U.S.-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed international border in the world. Jared Lunkenheimer of No More Deaths will speak about human rights violations on the US-Mexico Border, the neoliberal logic of US border-policy, ties between the private for-profit prison industry and border enforcement, and the effects of militarization on desert communities. No More Deaths is a consensus-based organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S.-Mexico border through civil initiative to provide humanitarian aid.

Jared Lunkenheimer has volunteered in the borderlands with No More Deaths since the summer of 2011, with various months-long periods providing aid in the desert. He is also currently a 4th year medical student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. After graduation in May, he will begin a residency in family medicine and pursue the removal of barriers to care for undocumented travelers who find themselves in need of emergency medical services once in the U.S. 

Light refreshments over a break will be provided following the talk, immediately followed by the closing lecture of the conference.


4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Robert A. Jones ‘59 House conference room

Nationalism, Citizenship, and the Politics of Filipino Migrant Labor

Robyn Rodriguez will speak about the disciplining of Filipino migrant labor by the Philippine State and the transnational political struggles to challenge the State’s role in the export and commodification of migrant workers. She will explore how transnational citizenship is used as a mechanism to turn Filipino migrants into a flexible labor market and how migrant political movements produce alternative nationalisms and novel notions of citizenship.

Robyn Rodriguez attended UC Santa Barbara and obtained her PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley. Her 2010 book Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press) has recently won awards from the Association of American Geographers and the Association for Asian American Studies. Rodriguez is associate professor of Asian American Studies at UC Davis.

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Robert A. Jones ‘59 House conference room

Dinner and conversation with conference speakers

  • Please RSVP to to reserve a spot.
  • Students are invited to dinner with speakers of the conference Immigration in the Neoliberal Age. We will discuss careers in human rights work and migrant activism. Participants will also have a chance to reflect on the conference and discuss how the Middlebury community can move forward with this new information.
  • Participating will be Robyn Rodriguez, author of the book Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press), Nunu Kidane of PANiDRM, and Jared Lunkenheimer of No More Deaths. 

Please visit the event details page to learn more about each event. 

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Robert A. Jones 59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury, VT 05753