Fall 2015


Quantitative reasoning in the study of immigration

Prof. Richard Alba, ralba@gc.cuny.edu, Wednesdays, 2:00 – 4:00, 3 Credits

The goal of this course is a sophisticated understanding of the application of some of the advanced techniques of multivariate analysis.  We will not concern ourselves very much with the statistical theory behind the techniques;  rather, our concern will be with their implementation in real-world research—the situations where they are appropriate, the decisions that go into using them, pitfalls in their application, and the interpretation of the results they produce.  The examples will be drawn throughout from contemporary research in the study of race, ethnicity, and immigration.


Migration and Crime

Prof. Robert Garot – rgarot@jjay.cuny.edu, Mondays, 4:15 – 6:15, 3 Credits

Immigration and crime have a long tradition of being connected, not only in the public mind, but also among policymakers. Though the question whether there is a nexus between immigration and crime is discussed widely, a clear answer has yet to be found. Whether speaking of an immigration and crime nexus means that immigrants are thought to be more criminal before they migrate (i.e., criminal members of the sending society tend to migrate more often than non criminal members), turn to a criminal lifestyle after settling in the new country (i.e., due to social, political, and/or economical exclusion), or become criminal through the process of immigration itself (hence, immigration causes immigrants or non immigrants or even both to engage in crime) seems unclear. The fact is that members of some disadvantaged minority groups in every Western country are disproportionately likely to be arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for violent, property, and drug crimes. However, not all disadvantaged immigrant groups have higher crime rates than the native born. In fact, most have lower crime rates and recent research findings show that immigration may even contribute to a decrease of the overall crime rate.
Though specifics vary from country to country, Western societies in particular repeatedly state concerns about immigration and crime. Public opinion has frequently linked trends in immigration to social problems in the country, and has been especially concerned about a possible relationship between rising numbers of immigrants and levels of crime and violence. In the public mind, the post 9/11 period has illuminated immigration and religionin the context of terrorism. As a result, many countries have begun to control immigration in the name of safeguarding their nations against terrorism. At the same time, religious profiling and discrimination – especially against Muslim immigrants – seem to be increasing. This course will explore whether the public perception that immigration increases crime (and terrorism) is actually true. We will analyze the links between immigration and crime by looking at and comparing the experiences of North America and Europe. The course will not only explore if and why immigrants commit more or less crime, but will also look at how criminal law and criminality have become increasingly affected by notions of citizenship in a period of globalization and mass mobility. The course will look at undocumented migrants (illegal immigration) and the control of borders as well as trends in punishment of foreigners (particularly in Europe) and their deportation. Finally, we also consider immigrants as victims of crime in various countries.

Race and Ethnicity

Prof. Philip Kasinitz   pkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu, Wednesdays, 11:45 – 1:45, 3 Credits

Race and ethnicity are constantly changing and evolving, yet they remain among the most persistent forms of structured social inequality. Focusing on the United States, but with reference to other multi-ethnic societies, we will examine the evolution of the concept of “race” and its relationship to racism; the heritage of slavery and segregation and their impacts contemporary life; the origins of modern racism and anti-Semitism, “scientific racism, ” why and how the salience of ethnic identity increases and decreases at particular historical moments, the relationship of race and ethnicity to migration, nationalism, colonialism and class, the growth of the  Latino and Asian American populations and  what  that  means for American notions  of race, etc.  In addition we will take an in depth look at how racial boundaries change, competition and cooperation between ethnic groups in contemporary America and how “racialized” minorities are (or are not) incorporated into different societies. Readings will include works by W.E.B. Dubois; Jean Paul Sartre, George Fredrickson; William Julius Wilson, David Roediger, John Iceland, Richard  Alba, Tariq Madood, Alejandro Portes, Stephen Steinberg and Mary Waters.

International Migration

Prof. Pyong Gap Min  pyonggap.min@qc.cuny.edu, Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30, 3 Credits

We have ushered into the global migration period since the early 1990s.  Not only traditionally immigrant-accepting countries, including the U.S. and three former British colonies in the “New World” (Canada, Australia and New Zealand), but also Western European countries and Asian countries have annually received large numbers of formal immigrants or migrant workers/brides over the last two decades. In particular, the U.S. has received the largest number of immigrants annually since the late 1960s, more immigrants than all European countries have received. The influx of immigrants to the U.S. over the last 50 years has changed the face of the U.S., impacting neighborhoods, the economy, the school systems, cuisines, politics, healthcare, and sports.
This course, focusing on international migration, has three main objectives.  First, it will provide an overview information about immigration patterns in three areas for students: (1) the U.S., (2) Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and (3) Europe.  Immigration patterns include immigration policies, the annual number of immigrants, their national and regional origins, and religious and socioeconomic background.  Second, it will compare two mass migration periods in the U.S. (the classical and contemporary periods) in immigration patterns and immigrants’ adaptations. Third, it will help students to learn about U.S. immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations (settlement patterns, socioeconomic adaptations and racialization) and theories of adaptations, especially regarding second-generation immigrants’ adaptations. To summarize the main objectives, this course aims to provide general information about global migration patterns, but focuses on the U.S. context in examining immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations with special attention the differences between turn-of-the-century white immigrant and contemporary immigrant groups.
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Spring 2015


Urban Ethnography

Profs. Mitchell Duneier and Philip Kasinitz      pkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu
Soc. 81200Thursdays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course introduces first-hand study of city life by investigators who have immersed themselves in the worlds of the people about whom they write. Since its inception in the early twentieth century, this great tradition has helped define how we think about cities and city dwellers.   The past few decades have seen an extraordinary revival in the field, as scholars and the public at large grapple with the increasingly complex and pressing issues that affect the ever changing American city—from poverty to the immigration experience, the changing nature of social bonds to mass incarceration, hyper-segregation to gentrification. As both a method of research and a form of literature, urban ethnography has seen a notable and important resurgence.   The class will focus on reading excellent examples of classic and contemporary works in urban ethnography.   It is therefore critical that students come to class having read and ready to discuss the assigned readings. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of this tradition. Throughout the semester we will also devote time to the practical, methodological and ethical issues raised in ethnography. Although this is not a ‘how to do it” course, we believe that careful study of the assigned readings will help those students who need to understand the intellectual dilemmas they will confront when using ethnographic methods, as well as those who prefer to experience urban ethnography as readers. Thus, we seek to understand urban ethnography both as a research method and as a form of social scientific literature.
Comparative Perspectives on Immigration
Prof. Nancy Foner     nfoner@hunter.cuny.edu
Soc. 85902, Tuesday 4:15-6:15 PM, 3 credits, room TBA
The basic premise of this course is that a comparative perspective can yield fresh insights into the nature and impact of immigration to the United States. We will consider several types of comparisons: comparisons of US immigrants today and in earlier historical eras; comparisons of different national origin groups in one setting and of the same national origin group in different destinations; comparisons of US immigrant gateway cities; and cross-national comparisons of the immigrant and second-generation experience in the US and Western Europe. In the context of a comparative approach, we will look at a broad range of issues, including the construction of racial and ethnic identities and the nature of intergroup relations, transnationalism, gender dynamics, the trajectories of the second generation, citizenship and political incorporation, and the role of race and religion.
Race, Segregation, and Social Inequality,
Prof. Pamela Bennett        pamela.bennett@qc.cuny.edu
Soc. 75800, Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course provides an in-depth study of racial and ethnic residential segregation and its relationship to social inequality. Through various theoretical perspectives, students will explore the historical and contemporary patterns of residential segregation in the United States. In doing so, students will become familiar with the entities and social phenomena that contribute to neighborhood segregation (such as federal and local governments, homeowner associations, financial institutions, group inequalities, group preferences, and racial and ethnic discrimination), as well as segregation’s social, economic, and demographic consequences. This course provides an in-depth study of racial and ethnic residential segregation and its relationship to social inequality. Through various theoretical perspectives, students will explore the historical and contemporary patterns of residential segregation in the United States. In doing so, students will become familiar with the entities and social phenomena that contribute to neighborhood segregation (such as federal and local governments, homeowner associations, financial institutions, group inequalities, group preferences, and racial and ethnic discrimination), as well as segregation’s social, economic, and demographic consequences.
Religion and Immigration,
Prof. Prema Kurien           pkurien@syr.edu
Soc. 84509, Mondays, 2 – 4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA

This course will focus on how religion plays a central role in social, economic, and political processes surrounding migration and immigration. Drawing on case studies of migration and immigration to the West (primarily to the US), we will see how religion, through a variety of indirect and direct mechanisms, shapes out-migration patterns, remittance use, social incorporation into receiving societies, and forms of political mobilization. Religion can affect out-migration patterns by determining societal structures such as the social location of groups within society, which in turn influences the fundamental characteristics of groups and gives rise to differential state policies towards them. Religion plays a central role in the incorporation of immigrants not just through personal faith, religious institutions, and communities, but through the intersection of the religiously infused identities and concepts of secularism of the receiving and home countries, as well as global politics which can profoundly impact the political incorporation of immigrants and their mobilization patterns. Majority/minority religious status in the homeland can affect activism around homeland issues, while majority/minority religious status in the host countries can mold racial attitudes and self-identification in different ways.

Asian Americans

Prof. Pyong Gap Min        pyonggap.min@qc.cuny.edu

Soc. 82800, Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA1.  The main objective of this course is to provide an overview of Asian-American experiences by covering Asian Americans both as a whole with regard to particular topics and major Asian ethnic groups separately. 2.  Major Asian American groups to be covered separately are Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, South Asian, Korean, and Indo-Chinese (Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians).    – General topics to be covered are immigration (history and contemporary trends), settlement patterns, socio-economic adjustment, prejudice and discrimination experienced, family and gender issues, community organization, ethnicity (ethnic attachment, ethnic identity, and ethnic solidarity), religious background, and intergenerational transition. – Specific topics and theories to be covered include the following: the model minority thesis, pan-Asian ethnicity, multiracial Asian Americans, Asian Americans’ positioning in U.S. race relations, the effects of globalization on Asian immigration patterns, Asian Americans’ transnational ties, Asian Americans’ political development, Korean-Black conflicts, intermarriage patterns.


Second Plus Generations and American Immigrant Integration

Prof. Robert C Smith    robert.smith@baruch.cuny.edu
Soc. 85800, Wednesdays 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBAThis course examines the ways that immigrants, and especially the second and subsequent generations are integrating into American society.  In particular, it asks how they engage with several American institutions: schools,  the political and voting systems,  socioeconomic and cultural institutions, and others.   It will look at schools as institutions for inclusion/exclusion;  will consider what political institutions and processes are working towards or against political incorporation of immigrants and later generations;   will review how assimilation is taking sometimes unexpected turns in various new immigration destinations in the northeast and southwestern US; and examine how other institutions, such as families and their internal dynamics, affect integration and mobility.   The course will give special consideration to the place of undocumented immigrants in American society.   Where appropriate, comparisons to European cases will be made.
Race Theory
 Prof. Vilna Bashi Treitler       vilna.treitler@baruch.cuny.edu
Soc. 85800, Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, roomo TBAThis is an advanced seminar for graduate students. This course is one that compares what I call “racial structures” across nations and time periods. (It focuses neither solely on the United States, nor on the contemporary moment.) In readings and classroom discussions we try to jointly discover and debate the meaning of race. To do so, we compare theoretical and empirical writings about race, racial categories, racial hierarchies, and racism as they are played out in political, cultural, and socioeconomic structures around the globe and in different historical periods. We will learn together in our attempt to answer these questions: What is race and how is it socially constructed? Given that definition of race, then what is racism? What is a racial structure? How do racial structures vary over time and across space? Given these newfound definitions of race, racism, and the structures in which race and racism are manifest, what insights do we have about doing research on race and racism? Students are required to complete a draft of a publishable paper that uses a social constructionist model of race (i.e., does not treat race as an essential characteristic basic to all humans). That paper may be theoretical or empirical in nature.