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Robert Courtney Smith is Professor in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, and Sociology Department, Graduate Center, CUNY. He authored Mexican New York: Transnational Worlds of New Immigrants (California, 2006), which won ASA's 2008 Distinguished Book Award and three section awards (International Migration; Latino/a Sociology; and Urban and Community Sociology), and a CUNY Presidential Award. He has received grants from NSF, SSRC, Spencer and other foundations; and has been both a Russell Sage Foundation Fellow and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. His most recent publication is “Black Mexicans, Conjunctural Ethnicity and Operating Identities,” American Sociological Review, 2014.
Smith’s public sociology seeks to identify strategic sites of intervention, and use social science research to affect those sites. He chairs MASA (masany.org), a nonprofit promoting educational achievement and civic engagement in the Mexican community in New York. He founded and has been the Lead Faculty for the Baruch College-Mexican Consulate Leadership Program; and is a Board Member of the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute. He served as an expert witness for the Department of Justice in the case of US v. Port Chester, about which he is now writing a book. He also routinely advises community organizations and public and private institutions working with immigrants. He also does expert testimony in deportation and wrongful death cases.
Smith is writing two books. Horatio Alger Lives in Brooklyn, But Check His Papers (California, forthcoming) ethnographically follows the paths of 100 children of Mexican immigrants through adolescence into early adulthood, seeking to explain their differing life outcomes. This long term research demonstrates the disruptive effect of long term legal status on the well-being of these youth compared to their US citizen counterparts. This is Still America! Voting Rights and Immigration. (with Andy Beverage) analyzes the political integration of immigrants into Port Chester New York, including the 2007 Voting Rights Act lawsuit against the town, and the subsequent changes in politics after the voting system was changed.