Convenors: Fiona Adamson (SOAS), Eiko Thielemann (LSE).

When: Tuesdays, 6:30pm
Where: New York University in London, 6 Bedford Square, Room 303 (although individual events may vary!)

Please note: To attend any of the seminars, please join the relevant event on our Facebook or Eventbrite page, or contact catherine_craven@soas.ac.uk.


7. November, 2019

Diversity without adversity? Refugees’ efforts to integrate can partially offset identity-based bias

by Tolga Sinmazdemir, senior lecturer in political methodology in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London


Can refugees’ acquired attributes and effort to integrate offset structural impediments to their integration? And do those attributes weigh in differently depending on the type of (economic, social, or political) integration? These questions carry policy implications, especially so in Turkey—a Muslim-majority country hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees, considered by many as the ideal place for their integration. We conduct the first-ever conjoint survey experiment in Turkey, in which we present the 2,362 respondents with pairs of Syrian refugee profiles that differ by gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, religion, education, social connections with locals, and prior involvement and victimization in the civil war. We then ask our respondents which of the two profiles they would: prefer as neighbours (social); support giving a work permit (economic); and support granting citizenship (political). We find no support for economic competition arguments. Instead, structural factors—religion, exposure to conflict and, predominantly, ethnicity—strongly affect support for integration: Christian, and even more so Kurdish, and Arab refugees are disliked relative to Sunni, Alawite, and Turkoman ones. However, refugees’ effort to integrate and form social ties with locals can alleviate some of these identity-based biases. Specifically, locals show greater support for Kurdish refugees’ integration if they speak Turkish or have Turkish friends. But for Arab refugees, both speaking Turkish and having Turkish friends have a very limited effect. Overall, the effect of refugees’ efforts on alleviating structural impediments to their integration is partial and highly conditional on their ethnic identity. Our findings raise questions over the effectiveness of policies encouraging refugees to make efforts to integrate.

About the speaker

Tolga Sinmazdemir is a senior lecturer in political methodology in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. His research focuses on political conflict and violence, with a special focus on the Middle East. Currently, he is studying Syrian refugee flows into neighboring countries and host society attitudes towards Syrian refugees. Before joining SOAS, he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul, and spent a year as a fellow in the School of Public Policy at LSE. Tolga holds a Ph.D. in Politics from New York University. He is a member of Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP), which is a global research network of scholars doing experimental research.

29. October 2019

Repertoires of Migration Governance in Southeast Asia and South America

by Andrew Geddes, Professor of Migration Studies and Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, Florence


This presentation explores the drivers of migration governance in Southeast Asia and South America. Drawing from extensive research and interviews as part of the European Research Council funded MIGPROSP project, it will analyse how key actors in migration governance systems in both these regions understand the causes and effects of migration as well as key risks and uncertainties associated with it. It will then explore how and with what effects these judgements and assessments then inform actions.

About the speaker

Andrew Geddes is Professor of Migration Studies and Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Between 2014 and 2019 he held an Advanced Investigator Grant awarded by the European Research Council for the project Prospects for International Migration Governance that analysed drivers of migration governance in Europe, North America, South America and Southeast Asia.

17. October, 2019

Sanctuary Cities: The Politics of Refuge

by Loren Collingwood, Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Riverside


The accidental shooting of Kathryn Steinle in July of 2015 by an undocumented immigrant ignited a firestorm of controversy around sanctuary cities, which are municipalities where officials are prohibited from inquiring into the immigration status of residents. Some decline immigration detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While sanctuary cities have been in existence since the 1980s, the Steinle shooting and the presidency of Donald Trump have brought them renewed attention and raised a number of questions. How have these policies evolved since the 1980s and how has the media framed them? Do sanctuary policies “breed crime” as some have argued, or do they help to politically incorporate immigrant populations? What do Americans think about sanctuary cities, and have their attitudes changed in recent years? How are states addressing the conflict between sanctuary cities and the federal government?

In one of the first comprehensive examinations of sanctuary cities, Loren Collingwood and Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien show that sanctuary policies have no discernible effect on crime rates; rather, anti-sanctuary state laws may undercut communities’ trust in law enforcement. Indeed, sanctuary policies do have the potential to better incorporate immigrant populations into the larger city, with both Latino police force representation and Latino voter turnout increasing as a result. Despite this, public opinion on sanctuary cities remains sharply divided and has become intensely partisanized.

About the speaker

Loren Collingwood is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at University of California, Riverside. His research interests include American politics, political behavior, public policy, race and ethnic politics, immigration, and political methodology. His research has appeared (or is forthcoming) in British Journal of Political Science, Election Law Journal, Electoral Studies, Policy and Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, Political Psychology, Public Opinion Quarterly, Sociological Methods & Research, State Politics and Public Policy Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, and other peer reviewed journals. He is the co-author of “Sanctuary Cities: The Politics of Refuge” (2019) and “Campaigning in a Racially Diversifying America: When and How Cross-Racial Electoral Mobilization Works” (2019) both with Oxford University Press.


30. April, 2019


Dr. Mark Hugo Lopez (Pew Research Center, Washington DC)


Majorities around the world say immigrants strengthen their countries rather than place burdens on them, according to new findings from the Pew Research Center. However, the public across many countries are also skeptical of immigrants’ willingness to adapt to their host countries and local customs.

In this session, Dr. Mark Hugo Lopez will explore these findings, the demographics of migrant populations worldwide and what people think about immigration. Dr. Lopez will present the Center’s latest research and take questions on immigration and measuring public opinion.

About the speaker

Dr. Lopez leads planning of the Center’s research agenda on international demographic trends, international migration, U.S. immigration trends and the U.S. Latino community. He is an expert on immigration globally and in the U.S., world demography, U.S. Hispanics and Asian Americans.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.


12. March, 2019






by Fiona B. Adamson (SOAS) and Gerasimos Tsourapas (University of Birmingham), with discussion by James F. Hollifield (Southern Methodist University)


Academic and policy debates on migration and refugee “crises” across the world have yet to engage fully with the importance of cross border population mobility for states’ diplomatic strategies. In this presentation, we discuss the concept of “migration diplomacy” as a key component of the ‘migration state’ and as an object of analysis for academics and practitioners alike, distinguishing it from other forms of migration-related policies and practices. Our analysis of migration diplomacy draws on realist approaches in international relations to identify how the interests and power of state actors are affected by their position in migration systems, namely the extent to which they are migration-sending, migration-receiving, or transit states. The presentation will examine how migration issues are connected with other areas of state interest and diplomacy, including security interests, economic interests and issues of identity, soft power, and public diplomacy.

Link to the article: https://academic.oup.com/isp/advance-article/doi/10.1093/isp/eky015/5253595

About the speakers

Fiona B. Adamson is an Associate Professor (Reader) of International Relations in the SOAS Department of Politics and International Studies. Her expertise is in international migration, diaspora politics, transnationalism, global governance and peace and security. Adamson has published in political science, international relations and migration journals such as International Security, European Journal of International Relations, International Migration Review, International Studies Review, Journal of Global Security Studies, Current History, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Studies Perspectives, Cambridge Review of International Affairs and Political Science Quarterly. Dr Adamson is co-convenor of the London Migration Research Group (LMRG) and serves on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review (APSR), European Journal of International Relations (EJIR) and Ethnopolitics. She served as Chair of the SOAS Department of Politics and International Studies (2010-13), and was previously Director of the Program in International Public Policy at University College London (UCL). Dr Adamson was a Leverhulme Research Fellow in 2015-17 and has held visiting fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University, Humboldt University in Berlin and University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr Adamson received her PhD from Columbia University and BA from Stanford University.

Gerasimos Tsourapas is a Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on the politics of migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the broader Middle East. He is currently the Principal Investigator in two research projects: “The International Politics of Middle East Migration: Problems, Policy, Practice,” funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, and “Migration Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Inter-State Politics of Population Mobility in the Middle East,” funded by the Council for British Research in the Levant. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Gerasimos was a Senior Teaching Fellow in International Relations at SOAS – University of London, and a Visiting Researcher at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies of The American University in Cairo. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Section of the International Studies Association, and the Council of the Migration & Citizenship Section of the American Political Science Association. Gerasimos has published in leading journals including International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Perspectives, Journal of Global Security Studies, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Third World Quarterly, and the Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies. He co-edited a special issue of International Political Science Review (with Maria Koinova) on ‘Diasporas and Sending States in World Politics’ (2018). His first book, The Politics of Egyptian Migration – Strategies for Survival in Autocracies, has been published by Cambridge University Press (2019).

About the discussant

James F. Hollifield is the Ora Nixon Arnold Chair in International Political Economy, Professor in the Department of Political Science, and Director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University (SMU), as well as a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. Hollifield has advised various governments in North and South America, Europe, East Asia and the Middle East and Africa, as well as the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the OECD, the ILO, the IOM, the EU, among others. His major books include Immigrants, Markets and States (Harvard), L’Immigration et l’Etat Nation: à la recherche d’un modèle national (L’Harmattan), Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (Routledge), Migration, Trade and Development(Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Herausforderung Migration—Perspektiven der vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft (Lit Verlag), Migration Theory (Routledge), and Controlling Immigration (Stanford). His current book projects are The Migration State (Stanford), Understanding Global Migration (Stanford) and International Political Economy: History, Theory and Policy (Cambridge). Hollifield was educated at Wake Forest College, Sciences Po Grenoble and Paris, and Duke University (PhD). He has taught at Brandeis and Auburn, served as a Research Fellow at Harvard and MIT, and was appointed Director of Research at the CNRS and Sciences Po in Paris. He is a Fellow at the Center for US-Mexican Studies at the UC San Diego, at the Institut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) at the University of Bonn, and the Global Migration Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. In 2015/16 he was named as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. In 2016 Hollifield received a Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association.

12. February, 2019











The Market Model: Immigration Regime Variation and Convergence in 30 Countries

By Associate Professor Anna Boucher, University of Sydney (presenting), Assistant Professor Justin Gest, George Mason University, February 2019, London.

Crossroads: Comparative Immigration Regimes in a World of Demographic Change finds that the world’s most prominent immigration regimes are converging toward elevated numbers of temporary immigrants, a focus on labor immigration through economic visas and free movement agreements, forms of tacitly ethnicity based selection and dropping naturalization rates. Relative to the openness and permanence of a liberal model of permanent, non-discriminatory settlement, that epitomized the immediate post-Cold War period, this emerging approach embodies a “Market Model” that reflects the increasingly contingent nature of labor markets worldwide. Based in an analysis of immigration demographics across 30 of the world’s principal destination states, this presentation will outline the methodological approach of the Crossroads book and identify some of its key empirical findings. It also outlines the Market Model argument, demonstrating that it is true of both democracies and non-democracies. This address situates Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom within these global trends in light of its shift towards skilled immigration over the 1990s and 2000s, the increase in temporary labour migration and planned changes to citizenship laws in several of these countries. A shift towards temporary immigration status and more stringent approaches to naturalization are often interconnected in important ways.

About the speaker

Dr Anna Boucher is an active researcher in the immigration field. Her book Gender Migration and the Global Race for Talent  (Manchester University Press) analyses skilled immigration policies globally from a gender perspective. Her second book, with Dr Justin Gest, Crossroads: Immigration Regimes in an Age of Demographic Change (Cambridge University Press, New York) compares immigration regimes across 30 countries. She holds degrees in law and political science. Prior to coming to Sydney University, she was an Australian Commonwealth Scholar and Bucerius Scholar in Migration Studies at the London School of Economics. From 2017­-2020, she holds an Australian Research Council grant to investigate the rights violations of migrant workers in former settler states. She is also writing a third book on the Holocaust and the creation of a global Jewish diaspora with Dr. Joseph Toltz. She is a regular commentator in the media on migration issues.