José Pérez, a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at The Ohio State University, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship by the U.S. Department of Education, International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) office. Doctoral candidates can engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies through the DDRA grant. Nationwide, across all disciplines, approximately 90 Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships were awarded.
Pérez will conduct research for his dissertation in Brazil for 9 months examining the topic of Refugee Resettlements and Social Integration: Security, Migration, and the State in Contemporary Brazil.
Pérez’s research examines the Brazilian government’s response to recent refugee influxes, specifically, its policies since 2018 to address the arrival of Venezuelan refugees. Over 37 million Latin Americans live outside of their country of birth, and since the 1990s Global South states have played an increasingly important role as hosts for migrants and refugees. Pérez builds upon previous studies of migration politics and international security to understand how resettled Venezuelan refugees in Brazil access public services, impact Brazil’s state capacity and bureaucratic functions, and affect their host communities.
Pérez hypothesizes that the Brazilian government’s response to the arrival of Venezuelan refugees positively improves its overall public service provision capabilities. Secondly, he argues that Portuguese-speaking, male, and/or white Venezuelan refugees more easily participate in public policy efforts in Brazil than individuals with other identities. Finally, he explores how Venezuelan refugees employ their identity as “Latin American” to partially ease their integration within Brazilian society. These hypotheses are examined via semi-structured interviews and participant observations with Venezuelan refugees and locals, i.e., politicians, immigration lawyers, and public servants, in three field sites: Manaus, Porto Alegre, and São Paulo. His research contributes theoretically to migration politics, security studies, and Brazilian national identity.
Pérez earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida (2014), a Master of Arts from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (2019), and is currently a PhD candidate in International Relations and Comparative Politics at Ohio State. He was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellow in Brazil during 2015-2016. His faculty committee is composed of Jennifer Mitzen, Sarah Brooks, and Inés Valdez.
The Office of International Affairs administers the Fulbright-Hays program for Ohio State, and grant competitions are held annually. Doctoral candidates interested in applying for the award must contact Fulbright-Hays program director, Joanna Kukielka-Blaser.