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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Peter Skerry

department of political science

photo of Peter Skerry


Ph.D., Harvard University

Curriculum Vitae

Office: McGuinn 228
Phone: 617-552-3112


Peter Skerry is Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where his research focuses on social policy, racial and ethnic politics, and immigration. Professor Skerry has been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and served as Director of Washington Programs for the University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for American Politics and Public Policy, where he also taught political science. He was formerly a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. He serves on the editorial board of the journal American Politics Research and on the board of advisory editors of Society magazine. Professor Skerry is also a member of the Advisory Council on European/Transatlantic Issues at the Heinrich Böll Foundation of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (the German Green Party).

His writings on politics, racial and ethnic issues, immigration and social policy have appeared in a variety of scholarly and general interest publications, including Society, Publius, The Journal of Policy History, The New Republic, Slate, The Public Interest, The Wilson Quarterly, National Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. His book, Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority (Harvard University Press), was awarded the 1993 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His most recent book is Counting on the Census? Race, Group Identity, and the Evasion of Politics, published by the Brookings Institution Press. His current project is a study of the social, cultural, and political integration of Muslims and Arabs in the United States.

Selected Publications


American Brotherhood: The Muslim Brothers Are Present in the United States, But Not a Threat

Opposing immigration wasn’t always racist 

Mexican Americans: New guys on the block


Christmas with the Brotherhood


Sex and the Middle East
Does the Arab World Need a Sexual Revolution?

Clash of Generations
The cultural contradictions of Islam in America

"Imagine No Religion" (review of Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. HarperCollins), Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2015.

"A Flawed But Important Take on Immigration" (review of Immigration Outside the Law by Hiroshi Motomura (Oxford: 2014)), The American Interest, March 12.


"What Do Illegal Immigrants Want?" The Weekly Standard, December 15.

"Immigration Malprctice," The Weekly Standard, August 18, 2014.


Give Undocumented Permanent Non-Citizen Resident Status.” Orange County Register, October 10.

No Kidding: Republicans, Democrats, and Illegal Immigrants.” The Weekly Standard, August 12.

Problems of the Second-Generation: To Be Young, Muslim, and American.” The Weekly Standard 18, June 24.

It Takes Two: Immigration and the Rule of Law.” The Weekly Standard, May 6.

Welcome to America: The Business of Immigration is More Than Business,” review of Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution, by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick. The Weekly Standard, April 15.

Forging Consensus on Immigration.” Progressive Policy Institute Policy Brief, March 1.

Bumps Along the Path to Citizenship.” The Weekly Standard, February, 25.

Splitting the Difference on Illegal Immigration.” National Affairs 14 (Winter): 3-26.


American Culture and the Muslim World.” Society 49, no. 1: 61-8.

Reprinted in Muslims in America. Dubai: Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center, 2011.


The Muslim-American Muddle,” National Affairs 9 (Fall): 14-37.

Learning Curve: American Culture and the Muslim World.” World Affairs, July/August.

Peter King Hearing: Why Won't Media--or Muslims--Address Islamism in America?,” with Gary J. Schmitt. Christian Science Monitor, March 10.

Silence from Muslim-Americans,” with Gary J. Schmitt. Boston Globe, January 29.


American Culture and the Muslim World.” Ijtihad-Reason (online publication of the Center for Global Engagement at the Institute for American Values).

“Hispanic Politics (1976-2009).” In Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History, Vol. 7, edited by Richard Valelly. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Moving On Up,” review of From Immigrants to Americans, by Jacob Vigdor. Claremont Review of Books, Fall.

The Real Debate is Among Muslims.” Boston Globe, August 19.

The Immigration Vote.” Boston Globe, August 3.

A Testing Attempt for Islam’s Center.” Boston Globe, May 18.

“Know Thy Neighbor,” review of Muslims in America: A Short History, by Edward E. Curtis. Wilson Quarterly, Winter.


Breaking the Immigration Stalemate: From Deep Disagreements to Constructive Proposals,” with William Galston and Noah Pickus. Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable.

“The Real Immigration Crisis.” In America at Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-Government in an Age of Uncertainty, edited by Robert Faulkner and Susan Shell, 174-92. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

“Why ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ Is Not Comprehensive.” The Forum 7, no.3.

Facing Facts About Immigration.” The American Interest, March/April.


Day Laborers and Dock Workers: Casual Labor Markets and Immigration Policy.” Society 45, no. 1: 46-52.

Who Gets In: And What Happens Once They’re Here,” review of The New Case Against Immigration, by Mark Krikorian. The Weekly Standard, September 15.


Good Neighbors and Good Citizens: Beyond the Legal-Illegal Immigration Debate,” with Noah Pickus. In Debating Immigration, edited by Carol M. Swain, 95-113; 283-91. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Islam in America.” The American Interest, May/June.


Immigration and Social Disorder.” In Uniting America: Restoring the Vital Center to American Democracy, edited by Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich, 124-38. New Haven: Yale University Press.

The New Muslim-Liberal Coalition.”, November 11.

The American Exception: Why Muslims in the U.S. Aren’t as Attracted to Jihad as Those in Europe.” Time, August 14.

How Not to Build a Fence.” Foreign Policy, August 8.

The Mother of Invention.” Wilson Quarterly, Summer.

“Line in the Sand,” with James Q. Wilson. Wall Street Journal, May 18.

Citizen Pain: Fixing the Immigration Debate,” with Devin Fernandes. The New Republic,
May 8.


America’s Other Muslims.” Wilson Quarterly, Autumn.

“Choice, Conflict, and the Zero-Sum Game of Identity Politics.” Yale Law and Policy Review 23, no. 1: 65-74.

Political institutions and minority mobility in the USA.” In Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy, edited by G.C. Loury, T. Modood, and S.M. Teles, 475-92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

“Racial Politics in the Administrative State.” Society 42, no. 2: 36-45.

What Are We To Make of Samuel Huntington?" Society 43, no.1: 82-91.


“‘This Was Our Riot Too’: The Political Assimilation of Today’s Immigrants.” In Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means to Be American, edited by Tamar Jacoby, 221-34. New York: Basic Books.

Interpreting the Muslim Vote," with Devin Fernandes. Boston Globe, November 26.

Borderline Useless.”, January 13.


Citizenship Begins at Home: A New Approach to the Civic Integration of Immigrants.” The Responsive Community 14, no.1: 25-37.

“Political Islam in the United States and Europe.” In Political Islam: Challenges for U.S. Policy, edited by Dick Clark. Aspen Institute: Second Conference, June 27-July 3.


“Comments on ‘Coverage of the Population in Census 2000: Results from Demographic Analysis’ and ‘Demographic Comparison between Self-Response and Personal Visit Interview in Census 2000.’” Population Research and Policy Review 21, nos. 1-2 (Special Issue: Census 2000): 53-4.

Multiracialism and the Administrative State.” In The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multiracial Individuals, edited by Joel Perlmann and Mary C. Waters, 327-39. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Beyond Sushiology: Does Diversity Work?" Brookings Review, Winter.


“Counting on the Census?” Society 39, no. 1: 3-10.

“The New Politics of the Census.” In Durability and Change: Politics and Policymaking in the 1990s, edited by Marc Landy, Martin Levin and Martin Shapiro, 292-310. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

“What’s Wrong With Group Politics?” Nexus 6: 189-96.


Counting on the Census? Race, Group Identity, and the Evasion of Politics. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

“Elites Immigrées Américaines et Politiques Raciales.” In Les Etats-Unis et les Elites Latino-Américaines, edited by Isabelle Vagnoux, 212ff. Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence.

“Mexican Immigration is Different.” American Enterprise, December.

Counting on the Census: The Minority Undercount and the Debate Over Sampling.” Philanthropy, September/October.


“The Racialization of Immigration Policy.” In Taking Stock: American Government in the Twentieth Century, edited by Morton Keller and R. Shep Melnick, 81-122. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


“Do We Really Want Immigrants to Assimilate?” In What, Then, Is the American, This New Man? Compiled by E. Sandman. Washington, D.C.: Center for Immigration Studies.


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