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Researcher / Research team

Alicia C. Swords


Here’s a little about me and why I do what I do:

I lived in 12 small towns in New York State before I was six. Then my family moved to Syracuse. My parents and extended family were active in social justice work in our community. I was exposed to lots of community issues at our kitchen table.

As an undergraduate, I majored in Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College. It was eye-opening to join a housing and dining cooperative and to travel to Nicaragua to visit our sister cooperative there.

After my time as an undergraduate, I worked for two years in the Dominican Republic with a small, grassroots organization called Oné Respè. Oné Respè is a greeting in Haitian Kreyol that means honor and respect). We did human rights work and base community organizing with children, youth and women’s groups in Dominican and Haitian communities.

While doing my Ph.D. at Cornell in Development Sociology, I learned about social movements with a crew of colleagues involved in other movements around the world. My dissertation project was about the popular education strategies of the organizations that support the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.

Here in Ithaca I work with the Tompkins County Workers Center. Students can get involved through internships and through the Service Learning for Social Justice program which aims to build relationships among community members and students. I am on the board of CUSLAR, the Committee on US-Latin American Relations, through which students can learn about the history and politics of the U.S. in Latin America.

Nationally, I work with the Poverty Initiative, a network of organizations dedicated to building a movement to end poverty led by the poor across color lines. Through the Poverty Initiative, students can learn about this movement, and sometimes take part in mini-immersion and immersion programs. I also have an ongoing connection with Justicia Global, an international socio-political organization founded and based in the Dominican Republic.

I began teaching at Ithaca College in the fall of 2006. I love our students. I’m proud of their enthusiasm and sense of justice. I see my role as facilitating student engagement with efforts for social change locally, nationally and internationally.





Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups


Regulation domains

Right to equality (national origin)

Geographical focuses

United States

Spheres of activity

Gender and sexuality studies and Sociology