Race and Ethnicity Comprehensive Exam
Fall 2010
Day 2: Race/Ethnicity and Immigration
Write essay responses for any two (2) of the five questions below. You are encouraged to
be thorough in your essay, developing the discussion in detail and giving examples and
1. U.S. society has been experiencing continuous large-scale immigration since the late
twentieth century. More immigrants have been admitted into the United States in each of
the two decades since 1990 than in any other decades in U.S. history. What are the new
questions and issues that this large-scale immigration raises for the sociology of race and
ethnicity, and how are sociologists framing research to understand the impacts of new
immigration on racial and ethnic relations in U.S. society?
2. Taking an immigration perspective, discuss the concept of “racialization” as it relates
to specific racial, ethnic, and religious groups in the United States or elsewhere. Based
on the literature you have read address the questions as to when and why certain group
and individual characteristics or practices become racialized and why (or why not) this
may be related to high levels of immigration?
3. Immigration and the out-migration of non-Hispanic whites from central cities have
increased the concentrations of groups of color (Asians, African Americans, Latinas/os,
etc.) in the same U.S. urban areas (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.). This
increases the opportunities for intergroup interaction among the different groups of color.
From the perspective of one such group, describe and explain dimensions of these newly
evolving intergroup relations, and discuss how these changing relations offer new
challenges and opportunities for research on race and ethnicity.
4. In Remaking the American Mainstream (2003), Richard Alba and Victor Nee argue
that the process of assimilation continues in U.S. society, albeit into a society that is
changing due to the impacts of new cultures. Develop a discussion in which you
challenge this argument, or support it, or offer qualifications for it, from the perspective
of research reported for immigrant groups that have arrived in the society since the late
twentieth century.
5. Recent immigration research by Portes, Rumbaut, Zhou, Waters, and other
sociologists focuses on conditions of the second generation (the U.S.-born children of
immigrants). Identify and describe this emerging research and explain how the
sociological findings lead to new conceptualizations, or support established theories and
concepts, of race and ethnicity in U.S. society.