Call for paper proposals
Conference on Overcoming Prejudice against Immigrant Minorities: What Works and What Doesn’t?
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, April 8-9, 2022

Organized by Nicholas Sambanis, Director of the Penn Identity and Conflict Lab, and Mathew Simonson, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Identity and Conflict Lab.

Western liberal democracies are seeing a surge of anti-immigrant attitudes. In Europe and the United States, popular resistance to immigration is increasing partly due to economic competition between natives and immigrants and partly due to ethnic, linguistic, or religious differences which lead natives to form biases against immigrant “Others.” Prejudice and negative stereotypes result in discrimination towards immigrants, whom natives view as a threat to their identity. Bias in favor of one’s group (ingroup) and prejudice against outsiders (outgroups) is a pervasive feature of intergroup relations across cultures, and it can lead to different forms of conflict ranging from discrimination in the labor market and racial profiling in criminal justice systems, to suicide bombings and mass atrocities and genocide.  Reducing prejudice against immigrants should help reduce native-immigrant conflict, but how can prejudice be reduced?

Given the abundant evidence that ingroup bias and outgroup prejudice cause conflict, this conference considers new research on how anti-immigrant prejudice can be reduced.  Immigrant assimilation could reduce conflict by eliminating cultural differences, but there might also exist less coercive and less repressive ways to reduce anti-immigrant attitudes. This conference brings together academics and practitioners whose work focuses directly on strategies to overcome prejudice, reduce discrimination, and enhance inter-group cooperation across different contexts and draws lessons that could be applied to native-immigrant relations.

We encourage inter-disciplinary approaches, and we are especially interested in studies that directly engage with policy initiatives or programs designed to reduce prejudice toward minority groups.  We are interested in drawing lessons across different contexts – such as interventions to reduce racial and ethnic bias in schools and workplace settings; public information campaigns targeting stereotypes; community-level initiatives designed to encourage pro-social behavior across ethnic lines; and state or local initiatives to encourage cultural integration of immigrants. We seek thought-provoking papers that are grounded in theory while providing rigorous and original empirical analyses that address questions of vital practical, normative, and policy importance.  We are open with regard to methodological approach and encourage applications from both senior and junior researchers.  We invite submissions of unpublished papers only, including early-stage projects.

Interested scholars should submit one-page abstracts for consideration by December 6, 2021.  Proposals will be accepted by January 6, 2022. Paper drafts must be submitted by March 8, 2022 in order to be included in the program.  We will cover travel and accommodation expenses for all participants. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and may be submitted through the following link:

Please direct questions to Matt Simonson at: