Leila Rodriguez

Leila Rodriguez


Associate Professor

Braunstein Hall


A&S Anthropology - 0380

Professional Summary

Affiliate faculty, Department of Africana Studies
Affiliate faculty, Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures
Affiliate faculty, Department of Sociology
Affiliate faculty, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies
Collaborator, Central American Population Center (University of Costa Rica)

I am a cultural anthropologist and demographer whose research centers on the local integration dynamics of migrants. A second line of research examines the use of culture as judicial evidence – in the form of anthropological expert testimony – in legal conflicts that involve immigrants and refugees. 

Regional interests: Central America, Latin America, U.S.



PhD: Pennsylvania State University 2009 (Anthropology and Demography)

MA: Pennsylvania State University 2004 (Anthropology and Demography)

BA: Universidad de Costa Rica 2002 (Anthropology)

Positions and Work Experience

2013 -To Present Cultural Expert Witness,

Research Support

2015 Wenner-Gren Foundation Workshop Grant. Theory, Epistemology, and Ethics of Anthropological Cultural Expertise in the Americas.

2007 National Science Foundation DDRG, Economic Adaptation and the Self-Employment Experience of Nigerian Immigrants in New York City.

2003 National Science Foundation REG Grant, Social Networks of Russian Immigrants in Costa Rica.

Abbreviated Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

2018 Casanova, Erynn Masi, Leila Rodriguez and Rocio Roldan Bueno. Informed but Uninsured: Labor Conditions and Social Protection Among Domestic Workers in Guayaquil. Latin American Perspectives 45(1)163-174

2018 Rodriguez, Leila "Introduction to the Special Issue: Convergences, Challenges, and Future Directions in the Use of Cultural Expert Evidence in Legal Proceedings" Studies in Law, Politics and Society 74:1-10

2017 Rodriguez, Leila "El Uso del Peritaje Cultural-Antropológico como Prueba Judicial en América Latina: Reflexiones de un Taller Internacional” Revista Uruguaya de Antropología y Etnografía 2(1)103-112

2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Alcance Teórico y Práctico del Transnacionalismo: La Participación Política de los Inmigrantes Nigerianos en la Ciudad de Nueva York. Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana 47:45-58

2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Maximizing Social Proximity in Market Relations: The Networks of Nigerian Immigrant Business Owners in New York City. Research in Economic Anthropology. 36:117-140

2016 Rodriguez, Leila. Valorizando los Efectos de las Emigraciones y las Remesas: Una Comunidad Costarricense Ante la (Re)Estructuración de Jerarquías de Género y Clas. Cuadernos de Antropología 26(1)7-16

2014 Rodriguez, Leila.  "A Cultural Anthropologist as Expert Witness: A Lesson in Asking and Answering the Right Questions". Practicing Anthropologist 36(3)6-10

2014 Rodriguez, Leila. The Transnational Political Participation of Nigerian Immigrants: Motivations, Means and Constraints. Journal of International and Global Studies 6(1)50-71

2013 Rodriguez, Leila “Entrepreneurial Practices of Nigerian Immigrants in New York: Structure, Agency, and Continuity and Change (in Spanish) Revista Comunicación, Política y Cultura 4(1)127-145

2008 Rodriguez, Leila “Migration Flows and Contexts of Reception: Guatemalans in Four Destinations” (in Spanish) Revista Centroamericana de Ciencias Sociales 5(1): 5-42

2008 Cohen, Jeffrey, Leila Rodriguez and Margaret Fox “Gender and Migration in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca” International Migration 46(1)79-101

2006 Jensen, Leif, Jeffrey H. Cohen, Jacqueline Almeida Toribio, Gordon F. DeJong, and Leila Rodriguez “Ethnic Identities, Language, and Economic Outcomes of Dominicans in Reading, Pennsylvania: a Research Note” Social Science Quarterly 87(5)1088-1099

2005 Rodriguez, Leila and Jeffrey H. Cohen “Generations and Motivations: Russian and Other Former Soviet Immigrants in Costa Rica.” International Migration 43(4): 147-165

2005 Cohen, Jeffrey H. and Leila Rodriguez “Remittance Outcomes in Rural Oaxaca, Mexico: Challenges, Options and Opportunities for Migrant Households” Population, Space and Place 11(1):49-63

Book Chapter

2014 Tyldum, Guri, Leila Rodriguez, Ingunn Bjorkhaug and Anna Wojtynska. “Deciding On and Distributing Incentives in RDS” In: Lisa Johnston and Guri Tyldum (eds) Applying Respondent-Driven Sampling to Migrant Populations. Lessons from the Field. London: Palgrave pp.49-61

2014 Johnston, Lisa, Leila Rodriguez and Joanna Napierala “Measuring Personal Network Size in RDS” In: Lisa Johnston and Guri Tyldum (eds) Applying Respondent-Driven Sampling to Migrant Populations. Lessons from the Field. London: Palgrave pp.27-36

2014 Rodriguez, Leila “Emigration of Costa Ricans Abroad: Numbers, Traits, and their Importance for the Country’s Development” (in Spanish) In: INEC – Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (ed). Costa Rica a la Luz del Censo 2011. pp.281-306

2019 Casanova, Erynn and Leila Rodriguez. Informed but Insecure. In: Erynn Masi de Casanova (ed) Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador. Ithaca: Cornell University Press


Rodriguez, Leila. Culture as Judicial Evidence: Expert Testimony in Latin America. University of Cincinnati Press.  

Rodriguez, Leila. La Cultura como Prueba Judicial: Peritajes Antropológicos en América Latina. 

Honors and Awards

2017 -2018 Community-Engaged Research Award, University of Cincinnati Office of the Provost For effective collaborations with community-based organizations that have resulted in outstanding scholarly and community outcomes. Status:Recipient Level:University

2019 Distinguished Service Award, University of Cincinnati Latino Faculty Association To recognize faculty who have demonstrated exemplary community service either by developing a program or engaging in volunteer work that has significantly impacted the community.

2019 Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program Breakfast of Champions, University of Cincinnati For positive contributions to the academic, personal, and/or professional success of a Darwin T. Turner student scholar during their time at the University of Cincinnati.

2021 Ethics in Action Award, University of Cincinnati. For actions and methods that go above and beyond to promote ethical research, scholarship, and/or workplace.


American Anthropological Association (Member's Programmatic, Advisory and Advocacy Committee | World Anthropologies Seat ) Elected Member 2018 -2020

Latin American Studies Association (Expert Witness Section ) Committee Chair 2020 -2023

Courses Taught

ANTH1001: Cultural Anthropology

ANTH3065: Anthropology of International Migration

ANTH4070: Economic Anthropology

ANTH3067: Demographic Anthropology

ANTH3060H : Problem-Solving the World's Refugee Crisis

ANTH2076: Culture in the Courtroom

ANTH4071: Ethnographic Methods