Pilapa Esara Carroll

Pilapa Esara Carroll, Ph.D

Associate Professor
(585) 395-5345
Office: Liberal Arts 327


  • PhD, Brown University

Areas of Specialty

Issues of displacement and refugee resettlement; ethnographic documentary production; gender inequality and social difference; social practices of marriage and intimacy; processes of migration and identity negotiations; economic development and globalization; Asia and its diasporas

Courses Taught

  • ANT 201 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 220 Ethnographic Experience
  • ANT 305 Sex, Gender & Power
  • ANT 315 The Migration Experience: a cultural perspective
  • ANT 321 Culture Change and Globalization
  • ANT 368 Forced from Home: Refugees, IDPs & Asylees
  • ANT 383 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 416/516 Exiled to America: Refugee Resettlement Experiences
  • ANT 470 Anthropology as a Profession
  • ANT 471 Anthropology Theory

Research Interests

Persons of refugee-status arrive in the U.S. to start their lives anew as survivors of violence and persecution. New York State has historically ranked third in the nation as a destination for newly-resettled refugees. The majority of these arrivals settle in western New York (85% in NY according to state data). Refugees are often called “New Americans,” because they are on a pathway to US citizenship, unlike other immigrant groups.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a challenge for us all. New Americans and newly-resettled refugees as English-limited essential workers deserve renewed attention in this time of crisis. The “COVID-19 & Refugee Families” project, funded by the ESL Charitable Foundation, seeks to examine the needs of local New American communities. Dr. Esara Carroll has a Fall 2021 sabbatical leave to work on this project, which is a partnership between SUNY Brockport and a local nonprofit (name withheld for confidentiality reasons). Results from this study should yield insights for future community development, improved human services provision and better public health outcomes. Recently, I conducted the “Supporting Adult Refugee Students study” (2015-2019) with funding from the Reed Foundation.

In the past, my research has focused on social change and economic development in Thailand. My ethnographic documentary entitled, “Day In, Day Out: Selling Food in Bangkok” offers a window into Thailand’s urban foodscape. I have also studied social change in Thailand through the lens of intimate relationships and changing notions of marriage and family.


Esara, P. (Producer, Director). (2012). Day in, Day Out: Selling food in Bangkok. [Motion Picture]

  • Adjudicated Screenings:
    • Nov. 2012 – Brownfish Short Film Festival (New York, NY)
  • Screenings:
    • Jan. 2013 – NYFQ (formerly Emerging Filmmakers Series), (Rochester, NY)
    • Dec. 2012 – 3rd Athens Ethnographic Film Festival (Athens, Greece)
    • Nov. 2012 – SUNY-wide Film Festival (Fredonia, NY)
    • Sept. 2012 – DocUtah Documentary Film Festival (St. George, UT)
    • June 2012 – 6th Annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival (Philadelphia, PA)