Skip to main content

ABF Doctoral Fellows: Heba Alex & Oscar R. Cornejo Casares

  • When: September 28, 2022
  • Where: Zoom: To register, contact Sophie Kofman at

Calendar event Add this event to your calendar (Outlook, iCal, etc…)


Heba Alex is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on how legal practices and institutions structure political spaces and understandings of citizenship. Her dissertation examines the coupling and decoupling of citizenship and rights. Using the U.S. as a case study, the project probes the conditions under which citizenship becomes the organizing principle of a specific right and why a right is removed from the citizenship field. She examines the variations in how rights and citizenship are bundled over space and time and how their (dis)connection moves across different activities and attributes. In addition, she is interested in examining legal decision-making from a Weberian perspective. Her research project on Cook County courts speaks to a broader interest in theorizing legal actors' behavior in a highly contingent legal environment that resists generalization. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Heba worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York and earned an M.A. in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Oscar R. Cornejo Casares is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. His research lies at the intersection of the sociology of law, race, and migration, particularly undocumented immigration. His dissertation, “The Life and Afterlife of Migrant Illegality,” explores the long-term, cumulative, and dynamic effects of undocumented status. The study is based on in-depth life history interviews of undocumented and formerly undocumented immigrants, their family members, as well as immigration lawyers in the Chicagoland area. Oscar’s research is informed by his personal connections and political activism with undocumented communities. In 2019, his co-produced documentary, “Change the Subject,” was released, which documents the history and political efforts to replace the subject headings "illegal aliens" from the Library of Congress. Oscar earned his B.A. in Sociology and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College where he was also a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship.

« Return to ABF Research Seminars

Site design by Webitects

© 2022 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.