LALS New Faculty Profile: Lily Balloffet

February 08, 2019

By , LALS Department Manager 831-459-3401


Lily Pearl Balloffet is an Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies. She joined the department in Fall, 2018. Originally from Boston, she received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California Davis.

Lily’s research studies the dynamics of migration processes between regions of the Global South. She looks at the ways in which these “South-South” migrations create mobile, “transregional” communities. Her research also addresses how the existence of these transregional communities came to influence international relations between different areas of the Global South over the course of the twentieth century. To study these themes, she conducts archival research and utilizes digital methods for mapping and data visualization.

For her first book, Lily focused on the case study of Middle Eastern migration to Argentina, and the ways in which that historical process created links between these geographies - many of which endure to the current today. The book, Argentina in the Global Middle East: Transregional Migration & Mobility, is currently under review at Stanford University Press. In her research, she argues for the adoption of a “migratory lens” - in other words a perspective that takes into account the role of migrants and their practices of mobility in the shaping of family, local, national, and global historical outcomes. These migrant mobilities range from habits of micro-regional travel, to dramatic transborder forays across long distances. The book is based on fifteen months of research in several Argentine provinces, as well a the Hoover Institution Archive at Stanford. Lily considers herself lucky in that her research allowed her to travel the length and breadth of Argentina’s varied landscape - from bustling Buenos Aires, to verdant Misiones Province, and even to the southernmost city in the world: Ushuaia, in the Tierra del Fuego province of the Patagonian region.

Moving forward, Lily is looking to explore questions of forced migration and ethnic exclusion in different Latin American historical contexts. In early 2018, she began field research in Costa Rica for a new project on early twentieth century migrant mobilities, and the genesis of legal frameworks for ethno-racial exclusion in the Caribbean Basin. She also plans to begin research in Summer 2019 toward a new project on Asian migration to Argentina during the 1970s and ‘80s. It is her hope that this latter project will take her back to some of her favorite field research sites in Argentina’s northeastern “Mesopotamian” region, and Patagonia.

Lily’s work on South-South migration, and digital methods for research and pedagogy has been published by the Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Studies Association Forum, Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies, and The Latin Americanist.

At UCSC, Lily is affiliated with the Research Center for the Americas. She teaches courses on migration, social movements, and transnational history.

Outside of work, Lily can often be found traveling, and connecting with friends and family across the globe.