In the aftermath of the refugee crisis caused by conflicts in the Middle East and an increase in migration to Europe, European nations have witnessed a surge in discrimination targeted at immigrant minorities. Drawing from original surveys, survey experiments, and novel field experiments, Professor Sambanis will discuss his recent book with co-authors Donghyun Danny Choi and Mathias Poertner. They show that although prejudice against immigrants is often driven by differences in traits such as appearance and religious practice, the suppression of such differences does not constitute the only path to integration. Instead, the authors demonstrate that similarities in ideas and value systems can serve as the foundation for a common identity, based on a shared concept of citizenship, overcoming the perceived social distance between natives and immigrants.
Nicholas Sambanis is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He writes on conflict processes with a focus on civil wars and other forms of inter-group conflict. Published work in these research areas has appeared in several journals, including the American Political Science Review, International Organization, American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. With Michael Doyle, he co-authored Making War and Building Peace (Princeton University Press, 2006), the first book to analyze the impact of United Nations peace operations in post-conflict transitions; with Paul Collier and other colleagues, he co-authored Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy, one of the first quantitative studies of the causes of civil war around the world. In a two-volume book project, Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis, he developed a nested, mixed-methods research design for the analysis of causes of civil war onset in a systematic comparative analysis of over 20 cases of civil war. Sambanis has taught at Yale and Penn. Topics of current interest are the effects of external intervention on peace-building after ethnic war; the analysis of violent escalation of separatist movements; conflict between native and immigrant populations; and strategies to mitigate bias and discrimination against minority groups. He studies these questions with a focus on the connection between identity politics and conflict processes drawing on social psychology, behavioral economics, and the comparative politics and international relations literatures in political science. Ongoing projects include research on the long-term legacies of violence exposure; the sources of ethnic and national identification among minority groups; the effects of integrative institutions in overcoming ethnic conflict; and on strategies to reduce bias and discrimination toward immigrants and refugees.