As a sociocultural and visual anthropologist specializing in Latin America and in Latino communities in the U.S., my research focuses on historical and contemporary processes and experiences of migration and mobility within Latin America and between this region and the United States. My first monograph Mobile Selves: Race, Migration, and Belonging in Peru and the U.S. (NYU Press, 2015), employs ethnographic methods and anthropological theories of exchange, circulation, and social and racial formations, to examine the conditions under which Peruvians of rural and working-class origins leave the central highlands of Peru and migrate to the United States and how they strive to communicate across multiple borders. By exploring how racialized and indigenous migrant populations through a variety of communicative practices create new renderings of themselves to overcome the class and racial biases that they face throughout the migration process, the book contributes to understanding technology’s role in fostering new forms of migrant sociality and subjectivity. Mobile Selves was translated into Spanish and published in 2016 by the Institute for Peruvian Studies in Lima, under the title Sujetos Móviles: Raza, Migración y Pertenencia en Peru y los Estados Unidos.
My current work centers on the detention and deportation of South American migrants from the United States in the Obama and Trump eras. I examine the current deportation regime as a set of social practices occurring over time and as a transnational social system which begins long before the migrant is apprehended and which continue long after an individual is removed from the US and exiled to their country of citizenship. By examining ethnographically the experiences and long-term effects of deportation and the dynamics of post-deportation life in both rural and urban communities in Ecuador and Peru, I seeks to expand the scope of anthropological studies of immigrant detention and deportation to consider the role of multiple actors and infrastructures in both “sending” and “receiving” locations.
I am also a practicing filmmaker and have directed, produced and edited the documentary Waiting for Miracles (2003), which follows a Peruvian Catholic brotherhood in NYC as it prepares for its yearly procession honoring the Lord of Miracles. My camera work is also featured in the film La Fiesta de la Asunción de Sarhua [The Festival of Our Lady of Assumption in Sarhua], directed by Luis Millones and Delia Ackerman (2011), among other productions. I am currently working on two documentary film projects: the first is an hour-long portrait of the Peruvian poet Domingo de Ramos– a film project which draws on visual material that I have shot over a twelve year-period. The second film is a collaboration with Zaire Dinzey-Flores, about memory and infrastructures in the Caribbean. This latter film traces the travels and imprints of Juan Vicente Dinzey Hazle, an octogenarian Dominican “cocolo” civil engineer of West Indian descent, and follows his laboral trajectory which traverses the ruins/remnants of a sugar mill in a West Indian enclave outside of San Pedro de Macorís in Dominican Republic, to technical training in the public University in Santo Domingo amidst political dictators and unequal racial landscapes, to the migration to New York City and later Puerto Rico. This short film explores how space—cities, buildings, infrastructure, built forms—are housed in the constructor’s labor—in its everyday experiences and in its landscapes of memories.
Fieldwork in Paterson, NJ 2004
2007 Ph.D. in Socio-cultural Anthropology, New York University.
2005 Certificate Program in Culture and Media, New York University.
2001 M.A. in Anthropology, University of Copenhagen.
1998 B.A. in Anthropology, University of Copenhagen.
070:603 Personhood (grad seminar)
070:505 History of Anthropological Theory (grad seminar)
070:407 Documenting Latinx Lives: Video Production Seminar
070:368 Anthropology of Mass Media
070:101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
595:307 Latinx Ethnography
595:298 Latinxs and Migration
595:101 Introduction to Latinx Studies
The Prize of Belonging.
Ulla Berg on her new book Mobile Selves. Interview with Ilana Gershon https://campanthropology.org/2017/09/11/ulla-berg-mobile-selves/
Interview Series “Seen Through a Spatial Lens … – Spatializations in Global Times”
Interview with Prof. Ulla Berg (Rutgers University, USA). Leipzig, August 2017.
Blog for Transregional Research: http://trafo.hypotheses.org/7485
Ulla Berg's video production class featured in Rutgers Today, in "Rutgers Students Training their lenses on Latino Lives."
Transnational New Jersey
Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies
I am currently directing the Center for Latin American Studies at Rutgers (2018-2021).
I am collaborating since 2014 with First Friends of NJ and NY
- 2016 Sujetos Móviles: Raza, Migración y Pertencia en el Perú y en los Estados Unidos. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.
- 2015 Mobile Selves: Migration, Race, and Belonging in Peru and the U.S. New York University Press.
- 2013 Transnational Citizenship Across the Americas. Eds. Ulla D. Berg and Robyn Rodriguez. London and New York: Routledge
- 2005 El Quinto Suyo: Transnacionalidad y Formaciones Diasporicas en la Migración Peruana [The Fifth Region: Transnationality and Diasporic Formations in Peruvian Migration]. Eds. Ulla Berg and Karsten Paerregaard. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos
Editor Special Journal Issues
- 2020 Pathways: A Tribute to Thomas A. Abercrombie. Cultural Anthrpology's Theorizing the Contemporary Series. Curated by Ulla D. Berg, Sandra Rozental, and Emily Yates-Doerr.
- 2013 Guest editor with Robyn Rodriguez of special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power on transnational and diasporic citizenship. Vol. 20, Issue 6 (December 2013).
- 2010 Guest editor with A. Takenaka and K. Paerregaard of special issue of Latin American Perspectives on Peruvian Global Migrations (Vol. 37 No. 5, September, 2010)
- 2006 Guest editor with Roberto G. Varea of e-misférica 3.2. (Issue titled Borders: Hybrid Imaginaries / Fractured Geographies): http://hemi.nyu.edu/journal/index.php.
- 2019 Documenting Latinx Lives: Visual Anthropology and Latinx Studies. Latino Studies 17(1):108-117. DOI 10.1057/s41276-018-00170-y
- 2017 “Cuerpos Confinados, Almas Resilientes: Un ensayo fotográfico.” Co-authored with Jennifer Castro. Iconos, Number 57 (May 2017).
- 2017 “La racialización del afecto: una propuesta teórica”, co-authored with Ana Ramos-Zayas. Etnografías Contemporáneas, Año 3, Nº 5, pp. 216-276.
- 2015. “Racializing Affect: A Theoretical Proposition.” Co-authored with Ana Ramos-Zayas. Current Anthropology, Vol. 56, No. 5 (October 2015)
- 2013 “Introduction: Transnational Citizenship Across the Americas.” Co-authored with Robyn Rodriguez. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Vol. 20(6): 649-664.
- 2010 El Quinto Suyo: Contemporary Nation-building and the Political Economy of Emigration in Peru. In Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 121- 136
- 2010 Introduction: Peruvian Migration in a Global Context. Co-authored with A. Takenaka and K. Paerregaard in special issue of Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 37 No. 5.
- 2008 In Defense of Community? Long-distance Localism and Transnational Political Engagement between the US and the Peruvian Andes. In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 34(7):1091-1108.
- 2006 ‘El Quinto Suyo’ from Above and from Below: State Agency and Transnational Political Practices Among Peruvian Migrants in the US and Europe. Co-authored with Carla Tamagno. In Latino Studies, vol. 4(3): 258–281
Selected Book Chapters
- 2020 The Afterlife of U.S. Disciplining Institutions: Transnational Structures of (Im)mobility among Peruvian deportees. In Rúa and Ramos-Zayas (eds): Critical Diálogos in Latino Studies, NYU Press (forthcoming 2020).
- 2018 “Affect, Race, and Generative Fieldsites in Urban Anthropology.” Co-authored with Ana Ramos-Zayas. In Setha Low (ed.): Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and the City, (Chapter 6).
- 2016 Percepción Remota: Estructuras de sentimiento en la comunicación a larga distancia. In I. Kummels (ed): Los medios audiovisuales en el contexto transnacional México-EE.UU. Berlin: Edición Tranvía. Verlag Walter Frei.
- 2014 “Domingo de Ramos: De la soledad poética a la choledad cosmopólita.” In In-Sufrido Fuego: Poesía Reunida (1988-2011) by Domingo de Ramos, pp. 91-94. Lima: Fondo Editorial del Congreso de la República.
- 2013 Migration Brokers and Document Fixers: The Making of Migrant Subject in Urban Peru. In Nyberg-Sørensen and Gammeltoft-Hansen (eds): The Migration Industry and the Commercialization of International Migration. London and New York: Routledge).
- 2012 Video-Culturas Itinerantes: Visualidad y Performance en el Espacio Diaspórico Peruano [Itinerant Video-cultures: Visuality and Performance in the Peruvian Diaspora]. In Gisela Cánepa (ed.): Imaginación Visual y Cultura en el Perú. Lima: Fondo Editorial PUCP.
- Domingo de Ramos. Documentary-in-progress on the Peruvian poet Domingo de Ramos (director)
- La Fiesta de la Asunción de Sarhua [The Festival of Our Lady of Assumption in Sarhua]. Documentary directed by Luis Millones and Delia Ackerman, cinematography by Ulla Berg (Lima: Asamblea Nacional de Rectores). View full documentary: https://vimeo.com/96767462 (password: ullaberg)
- Waiting for Miracles (2003). Documentary that follows a Peruvian Catholic brotherhood as it prepares for its yearly procession honoring the Lord of Miracles in NYC. This film explores the power of faith in the lives of immigrants in New York City (Director, Producer, and editor. NYU, Culture and Media).
Online Multimedia Projects
- Documenting Latinx Lives. On-line archive of the student documentary films made in the video production seminar “Documenting Latino Lives” at Rutgers University (available at: https://vimeo.com/album/5141847)
- Sarhua – Land of Mountains and Colors [Sarhua – Tierra de Montañas y Colores], on-line performance archive curated in 2006 with Luis Millones, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU (http://hemisphericinstitute.org/cuaderno/atahualpa/)
- The Death of the Inca Atahualpa [La Muerte del Inca Atahualpa], on-line performance archive curated in 2004 with Luis Millones, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU (http://hemisphericinstitute.org/cuaderno/sarhua/)