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Stephanie Nawyn - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Stephanie Nawyn

Associate Professor and Co-director of Center for Gender in Global Context | Michigan State University


Stephanie Nawyn specializes in migration and refugees, human trafficking and migrant labor exploitation.





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Sit down with Professor Stephanie Nawyn Gender Violence Presentatio by Stephanie Nawyn and GCSI Conversation by Chuck McKeown & Joe Dever



Stephanie J. Nawyn is the Co-Director for Academic Programs at the Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen) and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology with expertise in gender and migration. Her work has primarily focused on refugee resettlement and protection, as well as the economic advancement of African voluntary migrants in the U.S. She is the co-editor of The Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies and Gender Through the Prism of Difference 6th ed (forthcoming). Her most recent journal articles appear in Journal of Refugees Studies, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, and Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

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Writing and Editing


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Education (1)

University of Southern California: Ph.D.

News (5)

U.S. faith groups unite to help Afghanistan refugees after war

Los Angeles Times  online


The effort by faith groups to help resettle them follows a long history of religious involvement in refugee policy, said Stephanie Nawyn, a sociologist at Michigan State University who focuses on refugee issues. Decades before the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program was created in 1980, faith organizations advocated for the resettlement of Jewish refugees during World War II. Religious groups also helped receive people who fled wars in Vietnam, the Balkans and elsewhere. Besides helping distribute government resources, the groups mobilize private assets such as donations and volunteers and work with other private entities to provide supplies and housing, Nawyn said.

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Stateside: Court orders release of detained Iraqis; new Detroit music; a case for year-round school

Michigan Radio  online


Today on Stateside, a federal judge in Detroit has ordered the government to release more than 100 Iraqi nationals, many of them Chaldean Christians. They were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement nearly a year-and-a-half ago. We get reaction from a leader in Michigan's Chaldean-American community. Plus, religious communities have a long history of offering support and asylum to refugees, but that seems to be changing among some white Christians.

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Religion and refugees are deeply entwined in the US

The Conversation  online


Robert Bowers lashed out at what he believed to be a Jewish plot to bring more refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S. before allegedly murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Bowers’s claim that HIAS, a prominent Jewish humanitarian organization, was bringing migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala northward to commit violence was false. But it is true that many religious communities in the U.S., including American Jews, have long supported refugees and asylum-seeking migrants who arrive in the U.S.

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Texas Standard For November 22, 2018

Texas Standard  online


Kids are taught about how they traveled across the sea to escape persecution: what of those making pilgrimages to safety in modern times? We’re reconsidering what many describe as a global refugee crisis. But is it truly a crisis? And just how overwhelming does it have to be? From the UN High Commission for Refugees, to groups here in Texas working directly to help resettled the displaced, to the reasons for the persistent role of religion and faith, refugees are our focus – today on a special Thanksgiving edition of the Texas Standard.

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Donald Trump’s ‘s---hole countries’ remark and its policy history

Politifact  online


Stephanie J. Nawyn, an associate professor in the department of sociology at Michigan State University, agreed with Schneider. "The United States has a history of both accepting and repelling forced migrants," Nawyn said. Communities of faith, especially Jewish and Christian, were very involved in advocating for Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, but the U.S. government turned them away during that same time and forced them to return to Germany where they were killed, Nawyn said.

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Journal Articles (6)

The Right to Belong (If You Can Afford It): Market-based Restrictions on Social Citizenship in Refugee Resettlement

Journal of Refugee Studies

2018 This article uses data from face-to-face interviews with recently resettled Burundian and Burmese refugees in Michigan to explore the concept of market citizenship. Market citizenship (Brodie 1997) is defined as the allocation of citizenship rights based on an individual’s economic power and participation in the labour market. While refugees have legal access to certain social rights, through the limitations of market citizenship, they are frequently denied access to those rights. Our data illustrates some ways in which that denial occurs, but also points to ways that refugees use family relations to circumnavigate the barriers to social citizenship that they frequently experience during the immediate resettlement period. Refugee families reassemble household configurations such that they increase the number of work-eligible household members, adjusting what we call the ‘neo-liberal citizenship ratio’. We argue that citizenship is broadly constrained by neo-liberalism, and that refugee families’ creative mobilization of familial and community relations are often the only avenue refugee households have to survive under neo-liberal constraints.

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Socioeconomic Status and the Physical and Mental Health of Arab and Chaldean Americans in Michigan

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

2018 Research that explains health of Arab and Chaldean Americans relative to the health of non-Arab White Americans is limited but steadily increasing. This study considers whether socioeconomic status moderates the relationship between race/ethnicity and physical and mental health. Data come from a state representative sample of Arab and Chaldean Americans—the 2013 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey and the 2013 Michigan Arab/Chaldean Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (N = 12,837 adults with 536 Arab/Chaldean Americans).

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Gendered segmented assimilation: earnings trajectories of African immigrant women and men

Ethnic and Racial Studies

2017 Racial stratification in immigrant earnings has been widely influential in theories of immigrant socioeconomic assimilation, but discussions of how racial stratification might differ by gender are underdeveloped. Segmented assimilation theory attempts to explain the underlying mechanisms that cause racial disparities, but it fails to incorporate gendered dynamics like occupational sex segregation and the feminization of particular labour flows. In this paper, we address that gap. Using data from the 1990 decennial census and the American Community Survey in 2009–11, we compare the earnings of black and white African migrants to US-born blacks and whites separately by gender. Our findings indicate that black African migrant women experience no racial disadvantage in their earnings, but black African migrant men do. Our results highlight the importance of examining racial differences in immigrant earnings interacting with gender.

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Human Trafficking and Migration Management in the Global South

International Journal of Sociology

2016 Turkey has recently transitioned from being largely a country of outmigration and transit migration to a country of destination for many of migrants seeking employment as well as refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Policy makers and advocates have stressed how vulnerable many of these irregular migrants and asylum seekers are to human trafficking. The Turkish government has increased its anti-trafficking efforts, but some of these efforts may be making migrants more vulnerability to trafficking, and limiting migrants’ rights and opportunities to receive protection. In this article, we analyze the changing legal terrain and shifting labor migration flows of migrants to Turkey. We argue that domestic and international policies designed to curb human trafficking may in fact be causing migrants to be more vulnerable to traffickers. Our findings inform the labor exploitation theoretical framework of human trafficking that we have proposed in earlier research.

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Feminized intergenerational mobility without assimilation?: Post-1965 immigrants and the gender revolution


2015 Women in the United States have made significant socioeconomic advances over the last generation. The second generation of post-1965 immigrants came of age during this "gender revolution." However, assimilation theories focus mainly on racial/ethnic trajectories. Do gendered trajectories between and within groups better capture mobility patterns? Using the 1980 decennial census and the 2003-2007 Current Population Survey (CPS), we observe the socioeconomic status of Latino and Asian immigrant parents and their second-generation children 25 years later. We compare the educational, occupational, and earnings attainment of second-generation daughters and sons with that of their immigrant mothers and fathers. We simultaneously compare those socioeconomic trajectories with a U.S.-born white, non-Latino reference group. We find that second-generation women experience greater status attainment than both their mothers and their male counterparts, but the earnings of second-generation women lag behind those of men. However, because white mainstream women experienced similar intergenerational mobility, many gaps between the second generation and the mainstream remain. These patterns remain even after we control for parenthood status. With feminized intergenerational mobility occurring similarly across race, the racial/ethnic gaps observed in 1980 narrow but persist into the next generation for many outcomes. Both gender and race shape mobility trajectories, so ignoring either leads to an incomplete picture of assimilation.

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Counter-Trafficking Policy and Immigrant Rights in Turkey.

Insight Turkey

2014 Turkey has long been a transit site for irregular migration, and policy makers and advocates have stressed the vulnerability of many of these irregular migrants to human trafficking. The Turkish government increased its anti-trafficking efforts in the early 2000s, but these efforts may in fact be increasing immigrants’ vulnerability to trafficking. Using data from fieldwork among NGOs and government officials and analyses of laws and policy reports, we analyze the changing legal terrain and shifting migration flows into Turkey. We argue that recent counter-trafficking policies designed to curb human trafficking may in fact be making immigrants more vulnerable to traffickers. Our findings inform the labor exploitation theoretical framework of human trafficking that we proposed in earlier research.

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