Ali R. Chaudhary
Ph.D. University of California, Davis
Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
26 Nichol Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Office: Davison Hall, 132B
I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology and currently a faculty associate of the Rutgers Program on South Asian Studies and a Research Associate of the International Migration Institute Network (IMI-n). My primary areas of research are international migration/immigration, race-ethnicity, transnationalism, organizations, popular culture, and the sociology of music. Both my research and teaching center on issues of symbolic boundaries and groups. I am interested in understanding how symbolic boundaries of difference relative to nativity, ethnicity, race, culture, class, and religion, shape social structures, institutions, social processes, and material culture.
My earlier work explored how racial group differences are strongly associated with prestige hierarchies within self-employment in the United States (Chaudhary 2015). My doctoral research examined how different historical and institutional structures in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, create divergent contexts of reception and symbolic exclusion for Pakistani immigrants in New York, Toronto, and London (Chaudhary 2018; Chaudhary & Guarnizo 2016). In this research, I also examined how Pakistani nonprofit organizations experienced and responded to organizational stigma stemming from exclusionary boundaries constructed through government counter-terrorism policies and public attitudes towards Pakistan and Islam.
Following my doctoral research, I began a series of new projects exploring how symbolic boundaries of citizenship can extend across national borders through immigrant transnational political action. With respect to voting, I found that migrants who experienced a blurring of boundaries between their homeland and host society were more likely to vote in both European and homeland elections (Chaudhary 2018). I also found that migrants from origin-countries marred with instability, corruption, and autocracy were generally less likely to enact their long-distance citizenships and vote in homeland politics. In two related papers, I reveal how boundaries and group differences relative to nationality, religion, and class can constrain migrants’ abilities to engage in transnational politics (Chaudhary & Moss-forthcoming; Guarnizo, Chaudhary & Sorenson 2017).
My new research projects explore how symbolic boundaries of belonging and exclusion manifest in 1) the marketing and consumption of musical instruments; 2) common understandings of American popular music; and 3) the individual and collective lived-experiences of musicians across genres, instruments, and historical time-periods. Through each of these projects, I aim to develop sociological knowledge pertaining to the ways in which boundaries shape the social hierarchies and cultural negotiations inherent in the lived experiences of musicians and the music they create.