Department of Sociology
One of us? Race, Immigration, and the Construction of Social Boundaries (2014-2015)
Sociologists have long defined assimilation as the decline of social boundaries between in-groups and out-groups. Native-born Americans play a key role in defining these social boundaries and thus in immigrant assimilation. In this project I argue that native-born Americans’ perceptions of the social boundaries among groups is a critical, previously ignored measure of assimilation. I plan to develop attitudinal measures of these social boundaries, and then test key mechanisms that contribute to the construction and deconstruction of social boundaries, including conceptions of American identity, culture, and values. I will also compare the responses of native-born White, Black, and Latino Americans to one another.
Understanding Racial Prejudice in an Age of Immigration (2013-2014)
As increases in the foreign-born population help the United States move closer to majority-minority status, the future of American racial politics will increasingly depend on relations between immigrants and the native-born. To this end, I use an original survey experiment to examine the effects of large-scale immigration on the racial attitudes and political preferences of native-born Americans. My project has three main aims. First, I examine whether Americans view native-born Latinos, Blacks, and Asians differently than foreign-born Latinos, Blacks and Asians. Second, I test whether racial prejudice or anti-immigrant prejudice drives Americans to hold more conservative attitudes towards immigration policies. Third, I compare the racial attitudes and immigration policy preferences of native-born White, Black, and Latino Americans to one another. The results of this project will have broad implications for research on immigrant assimilation, racial attitudes, and the politics of immigration.