Refuge

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Refuge, under contract with Princeton University Press, examines the process by which newly resettled Syrian refugees rebuilt their lives in the United States within the constraints of resettlement policy, and how their experiences differed from their counterparts in Canada and Germany. Research for this project was completed between 2015 and 2018, as the world faced its largest refugee crisis since World War II. Since resettlement policy reflects immigration and social service systems, this international comparative study both examines what refuge and asylum mean as “solutions” to refugee crises and reflects on how these countries’ policies vary in their production of ethnic and racial minorities.

Two articles have been published from this project. “Diverging by Gender,” explores how household gender inequalities, stratified labor-markets, and an insufficient social service system affect human capital development. Counter-intuitively, it finds that women, by staying out of the labor market, were able to attend English classes, gaining a crucial resource for integration, while men, who entered menial jobs on behalf of the family, could not.  Through this case, human capital is theorized a gendered immigration outcome. This article is published in Gender and Society.

The second, “Resettled and Unsettled,” shows, through a chronological description, how Syrian refugees came to recognize their identities – as Arab and Muslim – as racialized in their first year of resettlement, as a result of rhetoric surrounding Donald Trump’s candidacy and subsequent policies as President. It finds that they experienced a diminished sense of legal and interpersonal safety, despite their privileged legal status, at  this moment of “acute racialization.” This article is published in Ethnic & Racial Studies.

This work emerges from dissertation research conducted in the United States, Canada, Germany and Italy, funded by the National Science Foundation, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy.