A Hub for Scholarship on Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration

The Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration brings together undergraduates, graduates, and faculty across the University to build connections and enhance and fund research.

Chenoa Flippen, Geraldo Cadava, Michael Jones-Correa

9/30/2022 Kristen de Groot, Penn Today

The world is constantly in motion, with hundreds of millions of people moving voluntarily or involuntarily across borders. Race, ethnicity, and legal status – issues central to the work of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration (CSERI) – often dictate who has agency within those borders.

“Our mission is to stimulate research on race, ethnicity, and immigration and to bring together all the disparate actors who study those topics on campus,” says CSERI director and sociologist Chenoa Flippen. “It’s all about connecting the dots.”

The Center, part of the School of Arts & Sciences, does that in two ways: through programming and events; and by funding undergraduate and graduate research with its generous endowment. Read more

New Book Published by Michael Jones-Correa

Holding Fast: Resilience and Civic Engagement Among Latino Immigrants

The 2016 election of Donald Trump prompted a surge in anti-immigrant sentiment which threatened DACA and other progressive immigration policies. In Holding Fast: Resilience and Civic Engagement Among Latino Immigrants, political scientists James McCann (Purdue University) and Michael Jones-Correa (University of Pennsylvania) investigate whether and how these recent shifts have affected political attitudes and civic participation among Latino immigrants.

Holding Fast draws largely from a yearlong survey of Latino immigrants, including both citizens and non-citizens, conducted before and after the 2016 election. The survey gauges immigrants’ attitudes about the direction of the country and the emotional underpinnings of their political involvement. While respondents expressed pessimism about the direction of the country after the election, there was no evidence that they withdrew from civic life. Instead, immigrants demonstrated remarkable resilience in their political engagement, and their ties to America remained robust. McCann and Jones-Correa examine Latino immigrants’ trust in government as well as their economic concerns and fears surrounding possible deportations of family members and friends. Addressing the potential influence immigrant voters may wield in in the 2020 election, the authors point to signs that the turnout rate for naturalized Latino immigrants may be higher than that for Latinos born in the United States. The authors underscore the importance of the parties’ platforms and policies, noting the still-tenuous nature of Latino immigrants’ affiliations with the Democratic Party.

Holding Fast outlines the complex political situation in which Latino immigrants find themselves today and provides a nuanced, thoughtful outlook on the future of Latino civic participation. It is an important contribution to scholarly work on civic engagement and immigrant integration.

Click here to watch a webinar discussion with the authors about the book’s findings and their political implications. [10/19/2020]

Five Takeaways from the DACA Ruling

06/18/2020 Kristen de Groot, Penn Today

What does this decision mean for the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients in America? Political scientist Michael Jones-Correa shares five key takeaways from the ruling.

Read in Penn Today.

2017 DACA rally

Kindred Spirits: Irish-Native American Solidarity

CSERI Turner-Schulman Fellow Conor Donnan looks at the Irish diaspora in the United States and at the transatlantic solidarity between Ireland and Native nations.

05/29/2020 Kristen de Groot, Penn Today

Conor Donnan

The Irish/Native American connection might seem like an unlikely alliance to the casual observer, but not to history doctoral candidate Conor Donnan. He has spent his academic career looking at the Irish diaspora in the United States, and in the process uncovered stories highlighting the transatlantic solidarity between Ireland and Native nations dating back to the 1800s.

“The Choctaw donating to Irish was not just philanthropic, but it was also a critique of imperialism in the United States,” he says. “These were nations that were victims of the Anglo-Protestant imperial project.”

Donnan’s current research at Penn focuses on labor and immigration in 19th and 20th-century America. His dissertation reconstructs the interactions of Irish Catholics and Native Americans against the backdrop of American imperial expansion, industrialization, and questions of citizenship in the trans-Mississippi West from 1841 to 1924. Read more.

On Ethnicity, Race, Immigration, and Student Research (Video)

12/18/2019 Omnia, Penn Arts & Sciences (video by Lilly Dupuis)

Graduate and undergraduate students present their research at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration poster presentation.


“At the beginning, when you’re a student, you don’t think of what you’re doing here at the University as producing knowledge,” says Michael Jones-Correa, President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration (CSERI). “You think of it as learning by absorbing what other people have written or what other people have produced. Part of what a university does that is so important is actually teach people how to produce knowledge themselves.”

The graduate and undergraduate student fellows at CSERI produced original research that contributes to their fields of study, including political science, Africana studies, history, law and education. Here, Michael John, C’20; Archana Upadhyay, C’20; and Kimberly Cárdenas, a doctoral student, share their work.

Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund to Support the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration

10/3/2018  University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences News

David E. Schulman (C’82, L’85) and Suzanne E. Turner (C’82), Penn parents, have made a gift to create the Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund in support of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration (CSERI). CSERI is led by Michael Jones-Correa, President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science.

CSERI, based in the School of Arts and Sciences, is a first-of-its-kind research center, focusing on the intersecting narratives of ethnicity, race and immigration in US life and supporting research at the faculty, graduate and undergraduate levels. Support for CSERI is a key priority in the School’s Power of Penn Arts & Sciences campaign.

 “I am thrilled that David and Suzie share my excitement about CSERI and Professor Jones-Correa’s leadership,” says Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “The Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund will allow students to pursue research that matters to them and to all of us invested in greater global understanding.”

“We are delighted to support student research at CSERI and to strengthen the School’s commitment to this interdisciplinary hub on campus,” said Mr.  Schulman. “This research is especially meaningful to us – I am the son of a French immigrant and Suzie has dedicated her career to advancing civil rights.”

Ms. Turner added, “For generations, Penn has been the place where our family grows our knowledge and deepens our understanding of complex ideas. We’re pleased to create research and learning opportunities for students and to help Penn grow as a leader in this vital field.”

Ms. Turner and Mr. Schulman are partners at Dechert in Washington, DC, where Ms. Turner is chair of the firm’s pro-bono practice.

Ms. Turner and Mr. Schulman previously created the Turner Schulman Scholarship for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a preference for students who have demonstrated a strong interest in public service, and the Turner Schulman Internship, which provides financial support for college students interning with human rights organizations.

Penn Alumni Couple Donate First Student Research Fund to Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration

10/15/2018 Najma Dayib, The Daily Pennsylvanian

The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration received a research fund to support further undergraduate research at Penn.

1982 College graduate Suzanne Turner and her husband 1982 College and 1985 Penn Law graduate David E. Schulman created the Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund to promote research done by students.

“We have a deep allegiance to the school and this particular opportunity really interested us,” Turner said. “I’m a civil liberties lawyer, and David is a son of an immigrant, and this is where our different pasts really align.”

“I’m from a long-term Penn family. My daughter just graduated and she is a fourth-generation Penn student,” Turner added.

The Center, which is the first of its kind here at Penn, addresses the intersection between race, ethnicity, and immigration. Created last year, the Center will support research at Penn and is housed in the new Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.

“This is a brand new initiative for Penn and for the School of Arts and Sciences,” said Michael Jones-Correa, who is the founder and director of the Center and one of Penn’s President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Jones-Correa is entering his third year at Penn, as the Center he formed is entering its second.

“The idea was to organize something that served as a bridge across the social sciences,” Jones-Correa said.

The Center hosts Post-Doctoral Fellows yearly. Roberto F. Carlos is the Center’s second and current fellow. Carlos’s research, which focuses on the role children play in shaping their parent’s politics, is supported by the Center.

“It gives me the opportunity to take a pretty solid research agenda and really hit the ground running,” Carlos said. “The Center and Michael’s goal is to try and give scholars who work on race, ethnicity, or immigration a platform to be able to do that in a pretty welcoming environment.”

Because of its focus on the intersection between race, ethnicity, and immigration, the Center has tapped into many departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, including the Africana Studies department. The Center supports workshops that these affiliates hold.

“[The Center] basically covers one of the most important intersecting phenomena of our kind about race, ethnicity, and citizenship,” said Michael Hanchard, a professor of Africana Studies and one of the Center’s affiliates.

Applications to receive a research grant from the Center for both undergraduates and graduates opened this past Tuesday, and with a new fund, the research opportunities are not limited.

Graduate student Kimberly Cardenas is interested in applying for a research grant from the Center. Cardenas studies Latino Politics, specifically with respect to issues of gender and sexuality, by considering the ways Latinos within the LGBT community are politically active and applying that to their identity in American politics.

“It’ll be an amazing opportunity to apply for funding from them and get funds to do field work such as traveling to collect data, interviewing folks, and going to archives,” Cardenas said.

“I think right now we’re seeing a lot of public discussion on race, given President Trump and the rise of similar presidents in other countries in Latin America, [and] I think these discussions are gonna be really important in the next coming years, as well as given that the country is changing demographically,” Cardenas added.

“I think the center will really serve to complement the student body and open doors for research opportunities for undergrads,” Cardenas concluded.