My book manuscript, titled The Moral Geography of Whiteness: Public Opinion on Restrictive Immigration Policy, is based on my dissertation research, which analyzed national and local newspapers, American National Election Studies, and my own survey experiment results. Using these mixed data sets, I investigated public opinion about immigration by examining three independent but interrelated factors: news media framing, individual-level predispositions, and geographic context.
This project has two major contributions to the ongoing scholarly work on immigration policy attitudes in the United States. First, it takes into account the role of geographic context in shaping immigration policy preferences. This contribution furthers our understanding of public opinion on immigration policy within the fields of political science, sociology, cultural geography, and American ethnic studies by way of adding a previously overlooked dimension to immigration studies, especially in the social sciences. Second, I take an interdisciplinary approach to understand contemporary restrictive immigration policy attitudes among white Americans through the use of a historical theory concerning the importance of space and place and the more contemporary emergence of imagined borders outside of physical border spaces. Drawing on literature from political science, American studies, sociology, social psychology and history, I also examine public opinion on immigration policy holistically, as it is tied to the deeply-rooted history of (re)claiming space through public policy.
In sum, The Moral Geography of Whiteness, makes a theoretical argument about the importance of the interlaced history of immigration, American nationalism, and geography as crucial to the understanding of contemporary immigration policy preferences among white Americans, which happens at both America’s borders and at the state and local levels within the United States.
Note: Dissertation material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. (DGE-1343012), as well as the American Political Science Association (APSA) Fund for Latino Scholarship, Ohio State’s Department of Political Science, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.