Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

Submission Deadlines: See upcoming deadlines

The Russell Sage Foundation’s program on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration supports innovative investigator-initiated research that examines the roles of race, ethnicity, nativity, legal status —and their interactions with each other and other social categories—in the social, economic, and political outcomes for immigrants, U.S.-born racial and ethnic minorities, and native-born whites.

RSF encourages multi-disciplinary perspectives and methods that both strengthen the data, theory, and methods of social science research and improve our understanding of how to foster the ideals of a pluralist society. Proposals may focus on any one or more of the issues—race, and/or ethnicity, and/or immigration.

RSF prioritizes analyses that make use of newly available data or demonstrate novel uses of existing data. We support original data collection when a project is focused on important program priorities, projects that conduct survey or field experiments and qualitative studies. RSF encourages methodological variety and inter-disciplinary collaboration. Proposed projects must have well-developed conceptual frameworks and rigorous research designs. Analytical models must be well-specified and research methods must be appropriate.

RSF priorities do not include analyses of health or mental health outcomes or health behaviors as these are priorities for other funders. For the same reason, RSF seldom supports studies focused on educational processes or curricular issues but does prioritize analyses of inequalities in student achievement or educational attainment.

The kinds of questions that are of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

Racial and Ethnic Diversity, Intergroup Relations, and Social Inclusion

  • To what extent has the prospect of a “majority-minority” population affected the political behavior of whites and of racial and ethnic minorities?
  • How does increased racial/ethnic diversity of organizations, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and the nation affect relations among members of different racial/ethnic groups?
  • How do race-related beliefs—such as concepts of difference, prejudice towards other groups, and attitudes towards race-related policies—evolve in the context of growing ethno-racial diversity?
  • How has growth in the Asian American population affected its economic, political, and socio-cultural status and influenced attitudes of other groups towards Asian Americans?
  • How have institutions such as labor unions, community- and faith-based organizations, schools, and the criminal justice system responded to increasing racial/ethnic diversity? To what extent have they affected social, economic, or political disparities between the foreign-born and the U.S.-born?
  • What are the sources of conflict, tension and accommodation between newcomers and long-term residents? What factors contribute to acceptance of new immigrants, and which lead to conflict?
  • What is the relationship between newer and older immigrant groups and between first-generation immigrants and citizen co-ethnics? How does the presence of the co-ethnics shape the integration, socialization, and socio-economic wellbeing of new arrivals?
  • How do changes in the level and distribution of economic resources affect the attitudes of the native-born with respect to the foreign-born and racial and ethnic minorities?

Immigration Policy and Immigrant Integration Policies

  • Some state and local ordinances attempt to exclude immigrants from access to schools, medical services, housing, and employment, but others attempt to facilitate immigrant integration. What are their various effects on immigrant outcomes?
  • To what extent do government policies affect who becomes naturalized? How does naturalization affect educational attainment, labor market outcomes, political participation, and civic life?
  • How has heightened immigration enforcement affected participation in safety net programs (e.g., Medicaid, Head Start, nutritional assistance programs)? To what extent has it had unintended economic or civic engagement effects on authorized immigrants and U.S. citizens?
  • To what extent have intensified apprehension and deportation policies affected the socio-economic outcomes of immigrant children, youth, and young adults?

The Role of Legal Status in Immigrant Outcomes

  • How does lack of documentation affect the social, economic, and civic integration outcomes of immigrants and their families?
  • To what extent does undocumented immigration affect how firms structure their hiring and employment practices?
  • How has the implementation of policies such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy or Temporary Protected Status designation affected the social, political, and economic outcomes of immigrants?

Social Movements and Responses to Diversity

  • To what extent have political mobilization and social movements protesting inequality, racism, policing, and criminal justice issues affected young people’s opportunities regarding education, employment, and income?
  • To what extent have political and social movements, such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate, affected political attitudes, behaviors, and economic opportunities?
  • How have the social, political, economic, and psychological consequences of the rise of white nativism and white supremacy affected the wellbeing and opportunities of immigrants and ethno-racial minorities?

The Politics of Racial and Ethnic Competition and Coalition Building

  • To what extent does material success translate into greater or less trust of racial and ethnic minorities in mainstream institutions, including the political process?
  • To what extent has demographic change affected racial politics, including attitudes towards particular policy issues?
  • To what extent has the movement by institutions, employers, and civic and social organizations to implement policies on diversity and inclusion affected the experiences of discrimination by racial and ethnic minorities?  Has the adoption of these policies increased anti-government sentiment and racial resentment?
  • Are young people from minoritized groups more or less likely to engage in mainstream political actions than the previous generation, and if so, what are the reasons?

Criminal and Civil Justice in Law Enforcement

  • To what extent do interactions with the carceral state affect opportunities for political participation?
  • How do experiences of policing or incarceration affect young people’s opportunities regarding education, employment, and income?

History, Race, Immigration, and the Law

  • How have race and the law shaped ideas about the state, citizenship, and claims-making?
  • How have government policies contributed to racial segregation and discrimination?
  • What are the effects on public safety and/or incarceration rates of adopting algorithmic risk assessments as an aid to judicial discretion in bail and sentencing decisions?
  • How have racial hierarchies changed in response to decades of civil rights legislation and reforms?
  • How does legal exclusion based on race or ethnicity affect the social, economic, and civic integration of minoritized groups?

Application Information

Funding can be used for research assistance, data acquisition, data analysis, and investigator time for conducting research and writing up results. Trustee Grants are capped at $200,000, including 15% indirect costs, over a two-year period. Presidential Awards are capped at $50,000 (no indirect costs) over a two-year period. However, when research projects have special needs for gathering data (e.g., qualitative research or survey experiments), gaining access to proprietary or restricted-use data, or when the proposal budget includes salary support for multiple assistant professor PIs, applicants may request up to $75,000 (no indirect costs).

A brief letter of inquiry (LOI; four-page maximum excluding references) must precede a full proposal to determine whether the proposed project is in line with the Foundation's program priorities and available funds. All applications must be submitted through the Foundation's online submission system, Fluxx. Questions should be addressed to Aixa Cintrón-Vélez, Program Director, at programs@rsage.org.

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