Milton Vickerman (Sociology)


My research focuses on race, immigration, and religion, specifically around the following questions:  (1) How do perceptions of race help generate and sustain social inequality?; (2) how does post-civil rights upward mobility for African Americans impact the debate around American racism?; (3) how do host societies respond institutionally, philosophically, and in terms of policy as immigration causes their populations to become more diverse?; and (4) how does belief in the supernatural relate to questions of inclusion, order, and inequality?  My current research on African immigrants and refugees addresses a number of these questions.  It investigates why some of these immigrants, particularly refugees, are now moving to small towns and suburbs, and how they are adjusting.  The research is revealing that their outcomes are complex.  Refugees are struggling to adjust, but this is also true of many putatively voluntary African immigrants.  However, many other voluntary African immigrants are experiencing upward mobility.  Length of time lived in the U.S. and variation in human capital endowments are the key factors explaining these divergent outcomes.  Typically, African immigrants turn to religion as they try to adjust to life in the U.S.  Consequently, this research is also a study of the religious life of African immigrants.