I am a political sociologist and I specialize in international migration, critical ethnic and racial relations, gender-based violence, and human rights. I hold a PhD from the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal, Canada. Currently, I am a Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) in Lund, Sweden, and a Lecturer in international migration at the Graduate School of Social Science at Lund University.  Since February 2021, I have been working on a new two-year project funded by Vinnova MSCA-Seal of Excellence, titled INTERSEC-RACE – Migration Politics, Racism and Gender Violence in Morocco and on the Moroccan-Spanish BordersThe project was funded by Vinnova after receiving the Seal of Excellence in March 2019 (and making it to the reserve list) from the European Commission for the quality of the proposal under the Programme Individual Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

Previously, I held a position as a researcher at Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy (2016-2018) and in the department of Gender Studies at Lund University, Sweden (2019-2021). During my academic career I have also held several visiting positions in distinct research centres at International University of Rabat (UIR), Université de Montréal, Concordia University, Cornell University, University of Toronto, and the European University Institute

My research areas are in the fields of international migration and immigrants’ inclusion in society, social movement studies, racism, gender-based violence, and human rights in Mediterranean Region. My work has appeared in International Migration Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Southern European Society and Politics, and European Journal of Political Research as well as in several chapters of co-authored books.

My forthcoming book, entitled Reframing Resistance:  Alliances, Conflicts,and Immigrant Racialization in Italy,  is under contract with Routledge. Based on extensive ethnographic research that I conducted in four Italian cities between 2013 and 2014 and about 120 interviews, the study analyzes the efforts immigrants and pro-immigrant groups of the civil society make to resist state actors’ production of exclusion and precariousness in immigrant communities after the financial crisis of 2008 in Italy. One of the main contributions of my work is to show that, in addition to state actors, pro-immigrant groups often play a crucial role in excluding and racializing immigrant activists in the struggles that concern them, thereby reducing the scope of immigrants’ greater inclusion in receiving societies. Additionally, considering migrant activists as relevant political players, my research shows their role in transforming narratives about integration from below.

I am developing new pedagogies in higher education and beyond to address conflicts in society around diversity and inclusion (see Project 2 below). I am regularly hired to offer my expert advice as a consultant for NGOs and Think tanks on migration and discrimination issues and I am regularly invited to offer training courses on human rights and discrimination in non-academic contexts.

My two ongoing projects are the following:

Project 1: Migration Politics, Racism and Gender Violence in Morocco and on the Moroccan-Spanish Borders: An Actor-Oriented Approach to Study Racism and Anti-Racism at the Intersection with Gender

This study  focuses on Morocco (and partly on both sides of the Moroccan-Spanish borders) to examine the nexus between the securitization of borders and the socio-political operation of contemporary racism at its intersection with increasing gender- based violence against Black Sub-Saharan immigrants. It will focus on three key socio-political dimensions of racism and anti-racism: (1) The potential role of Moroccan political elites (and the influence of the EU and Spain) in activating and legitimizing (wittingly or unwittingly) abuse and violence towards ‘Black Sub-Saharan’ immigrants; (2) The strategies of immigrant activists to expose and challenge racism with the help of Moroccan and Spanish civil society supporters; and, (3) The ways Black Sub-Saharan immigrants experience and challenge racism. Using an intersectional lens, the study will also examine how race and gender intersect and address the gendered dimensions of racism and anti-racism focusing on the three axes highlighted above.The empirical analysis will use a mixed-method approach and rely on desktop research and fieldwork of about 9 months mainly in Morocco, but also on both sides of the Moroccan-Spanish borders. It will combine about 65 semi-structured interviews with a multiplicity of actors, participant observation of key events, and a selection of key texts produced by political elites and their challengers. 

The project won the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence, a quality label awarded by the European Commission in March 2020 for the MSCA Individual Fellowships Call of 2019 (Score 90.80%; reserve list). It is currently funded by the Swedish agency VINNOVA.

Project 2:  Developing Transformative, Community-based Pedagogies in Higher Education and Beyond: Theories and Practices

European universities are becoming increasingly diverse, with students from different countries, socio-demographic backgrounds, and visible and invisible dis/abilities. However, they have, so far, largely failed to reflect and act on the ways academic and non-academic settings can develop more comprehensively inclusive curricula, where diversity—in terms of class, gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation and/or abilities—is not only acknowledged, respected and represented, but where teachers and students can reflect about their role in a changing world and be empowered to imagine together a decolonial and more just future (Freire 2015). Building on the fundamental work of authors, such as Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and Henry Giroux, TRANSFORM_EDUC explores theoretical and practical challenges and opportunities as well as innovative tools to develop transformative, communuty-based pedagogies. Transformative pedagogy may be defined as “an activist pedagogy combining the elements of constructivist and critical pedagogy that empowers students to examine critically their beliefs, values, and knowledge with the goal of developing a reflective knowledge base, an appreciation for multiple perspectives, and a sense of critical consciousness and agency” (Ukpokodu 2009). The project, therefore, explores theories and practices that question and decentralize traditional education and develop alternative pedagogies, and especially new practical tools, to empower teachers and students in class and beyond. It draws on experiences in academic and non-academic settings from European and other countries around the globe. It will build on community-based practices developed in non-academic settings, and especially in the context of peace-building processes in post-conflict zones (UNESCO 2017).