Jane Junn – How to Study Public Opinion in a Diverse Polity: Political Attitudes on Immigration in the U.S.

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Seminar to be held on Tuesday, February 7th in ERC 115 at 12:30 pm.

The study of the contours and antecedents of U.S. public opinion on immigration has been characterized by several strategies: 1) analyzing differences between whites and African Americans only; 2) controlling for race when estimating inferential models by using dummy variables; 3) utilizing models of white opinion to explain attitudes among minority Americans; and 4) analyzing one racial or ethnic group in isolation. Professor Junn argues that these approaches are insufficient to both the descriptive and inferential task facing analysts of public opinion in a diverse American polity. Instead, she advocates a comparative relational approach that considers the opinions of all Americans, and generates hypotheses based on the interactive and historically-grounded experiences of racial groups in the United States. With this approach, she develops a theory of the political context of racial structural positionality and articulate how this context and the development of racialization structures agency  and constraint for Americans classified by race.

Jane Junn is Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California. She is the author of four books on political participation in the U.S. Her first book, Education and Democratic Citizenship in America (with Norman Nie and Ken Stehlik-Barry, University of Chicago Press, 1996), won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation award from the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science. She is also the author of Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn (with Richard G. Niemi, Yale University Press, 1998), New Race Politics: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics (edited with Kerry L. Haynie, Cambridge University Press, 2008), and Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (with Janelle Wong, Karthick Ramakrishnan and Taeku Lee, Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). This most recent book is based on data from the 2008 National Asian American Survey. She is currently at work with Natalie Masuoka on a book on political attitudes in the U.S. entitled Conditional Welcome: Public Opinion on Immigration and the Politics of Belonging.

Jane has been Vice President of the American Political Science Association, a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a recipient of an Outstanding Teacher Award from Columbia University Teachers College. She was a member of the Social Science Research Council National Research Commission on Elections and Voting and a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on the U.S. Naturalization Test Redesign. She was the director of the USC – Los Angeles Times Poll during the 2010 California election.

* Light refreshments will be provided