Noelle Brigden

Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Ph.D., Cornell University


Noelle Brigden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. She earned her Ph.D. (2013) and M.A. (2009) degrees in Government at Cornell University. She held a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University before joining the Department of Political Science in the fall of 2014. During her doctoral research on the violence and uncertainty that confronts Central American migrants in transit, she conducted two years of fieldwork along unauthorized routes in El Salvador, Mexico and the United States. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Garcia-Robles program, the Bucerius Program at the Zeit-Stiftung, and the Einaudi Center for International Studies and the Institute for Social Science at Cornell University. Her work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Antipode, Geopolitics, and Migration Studies.





Prof. Brigden's book manuscript is a study of violence and survival along unauthorized migratory routes from Central America through Mexico and into the United States. It examines what migrants know about this violence, how they come to know it, and the broader implications of that knowledge.  By tracing the improvisational practices of migrants confronted by extreme uncertainty, this ethnographic framework explains the durability and adaptive flexibility of unauthorized transnational flows with consequences for the human security of migrants and citizens alike.

More broadly, her research on human security is eclectic, empirically grounded transnational scholarship that challenges us to think critically about the political tensions between individuals and communities.  To do so, this research takes the vantage point of everyday people and daily practice.  It focuses on unauthorized social activities and the transformative effects of improvisation in order to explore the internal contradictions of liberal governance.  Her research thus transcends interdisciplinary boundaries, drawing inspiration from political science, sociology, anthropology and economics.





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