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Department of Sociology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Diego F. Leal

Title: Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3123
Resources: Personal Website
Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Diego Leal


Diego F. Leal earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts in 2018.  He has been an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina since the Fall of 2018. He was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where he did an M.A. and B.A in Political Science. He applies lenses of computational social science and network science to the study of international migration and minority health.



Substantive research interests: International Migration, Social Networks, Latin America, Minority Health, Network Inequalities, Computational Social Science

Department cluster: Social Inequalities, Identities, and Institutions; Population and Health

Research overview: Diego’s current research focuses on the study of international migration systems. Specifically, he studies the emergence and evolution of migration flows between countries using Migration Systems Theory and the theory of Global Care Chains.  His other projects use empirical and simulated network data to understand friendship formation, the diffusion of innovations, ethnoracial health disparities, and smoking cessation among Latino/as.

Current projects:

Diffusion of Innovations as the Bridging of Cultural Holes

Mapping Feminized Migration Flows Globally (with Joya Misra and Ragini Malhotra)

Venezuelan Migration to Bucaramanga, Colombia (with María Bonilla and Mairene Tobón)

Communication Interventions to Promote Smoking Cessation among Latino/as (with Jim Thrasher and Victoria Lambert)

Using Social Media Data to understand Mask Usage and COVID-19-related Risk Perceptions in the US  (with Shan Qiao and  Zhenlong Li)



Statistical Analysis in Sociology (undergraduate and graduate), Race and Ethnic Relations, Introduction to Social Problems, Advanced Networks Science Methods


Selected Publications

Leal, Diego F. 2021. “Network Inequalities and International Migration in the Americas,” American Journal of Sociology 126(5): 1067-1126 [pdf].

Leal, Diego F. 2020. “Mass Transit Shutdowns as a Tactical Innovation in Bogotá, Colombia,” Social Currents 7(4): 299-309 [pdf].

Kitts, James A. and Diego F. Leal. 2021. “What is(n’t) a Friend? Dimensions of the Friendship Concept among Adolescents,” Social Networks 66: 161-170 [pdf].

Pachucki, Mark C. and Diego F. Leal. 2020. “Is Having an Educationally Diverse Social Network Good for Health?” Network Science 8(3): 418-444 [pdf].

Leal, Diego F., Anthony Paik and Steven A. Boutcher. 2019. “Status and Collaboration: The Case of Pro Bono Network Inequalities in Corporate Law,” Social Science Research 84: 102325 [pdf].

Kitts, James A., Diego F. Leal, Will Felps, Thomas M. Jones and Shawn L. Berman. 2016. “Greed and Fear in Network Reciprocity” PLoS ONE 11(2): e0147264 [pdf].

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.