Race, Ethnicity & Immigration

Scholars in this area study how racial, ethnic and national identities are salient or stratifying forces in people’s lives. Immigration is one primary force shaping racial and ethnic diversity in Canada and other receiving nations. As a city with tremendous ethnic and racial diversity, as well as one of the world’s largest concentrations of immigrants, Vancouver is an ideal location to study these issues. The following areas are among the central research interests:

 1. Racial and ethnic inequality

A prominent area within the study of race and ethnicity is how and why social inequalities are structured and sustained between different groups. Researchers seek to explain disparities in health, education, work and resource distribution, among other realms of life. Studies by UBC faculty focus on experiences of discrimination as well as the way that notions of difference and hierarchy are politically constructed. We also study how race and ethnicity intersect with other relations of inequality such as gender, sexuality, class, age and disability, as well as the changing histories and articulations of racisms across time and space. (Creese, Fuller, Hirsh, Mawani, Roth, Veenstra, Wilkes)

 2. Racial and ethnic classification

Racial and ethnic categories change over time and across societies. Researchers in this area study how they are constructed and transformed by social processes such as immigration, colonialism, intermarriage, state formation, political events and even genetic technology. This includes the construction of new identities (e.g. multiracial, “Canadian”), and the implications of classification for social relations and for research. (Hirsh, Mawani, Roth)

 3. Immigrant incorporation

This area considers how immigrants are faring in their new societies. It includes their socioeconomic integration (educational attainment, labour market outcomes, neighbourhood integration) as well as their cultural integration (linguistic abilities, family patterns, identity, social networks). Scholars in this area also examine patterns of maintaining transnational ties and sending remittances to the home countries. (Creese, Johnson, Lauer, Lauster, Roth)

 4. Social relations and attitudes

Faculty in our department study the social psychology of race prejudice and discrimination, public attitudes toward immigration and foreigners, and the social factors that can transform attitudes toward racial, ethnic and foreign-born groups. This area includes social mobilization of ethnic and racial groups as they seek to change the dynamics of social relations. (Corrigall-Brown, Creese, Fu, Guppy, Hirsh, Roth, White, Wilkes)