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Alexis M. Silver

Associate Professor of Sociology

Alexis Silver is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies at Purchase College, State University of New York. She completed her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. Her primary research focuses on membership and belonging for Latinx immigrant and second-generation youth in North Carolina, and return migrant and deportee youth and young adults in Mexico. In a second line of research, she examines transnational families in the United States and Mexico. She loves teaching the research methods / junior seminar core sequence every year, but she is especially passionate about her courses on immigration, human rights and law and society. Her book, entitled Shifting Boundaries: Immigrant Youth Negotiating National, State and Small Town Politics was published by Stanford University Press in 2018.

Research Interests

  • International Migration and Youth (1.5 and second-generation immigrants)
  • Immigration Policy
  • National Membership and Belonging
  • Return Migration and Deportation
  • New Immigrant Destinations
  • Transnational Families

Representative Courses

  • SOC 4030: Seminar in Sociological Issues - Senior Seminar in Social Justice
  • SOC 3885: Junior Seminar
  • SOC 3661: Border Wars and Human Rights 
  • SOC 3615: Families, Communities, Cultures
  • SOC 3585: Communities, Ethnicities, and Exclusion
  • SOC 3515: Education Across Cultures (Experiential Learning Course)
  • SOC 3405: Research Methods, Research Literacy
  • SOC2050: Social (In)Justice and the Law




2018. Shifting Boundaries: Immigrant Youth Negotiating National, State and Small Town Politics. Stanford University Press.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2023 “Transnational ambivalence: incorporation after forced and compelled return to Mexico.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-21. (Lead author with Melissa Manzanares)

2023 “Reconstructing Roots: Emotional Drivers of Migration and Identity.” Social Sciences 12 (2): 60.

2021 “Starting from Scratch?”: Adaptation After Deportation and Return Migration Among Young Mexican Migrants. In M. Bhatia & V. Canning (Eds.), Stealing Time: Migration, Temporalities and State Violence (pp. 127–149). Springer International Publishing. (Lead author with Melissa Manzanares and Liron Goldring).

2018. “Fractured Families, Connected Community: Emotional Engagement in a Transnational Social Network.” International Migration. Early view publication.(with Heather Edelblute, Ted Mouw and Sergio Chávez).

2018.  “Displaced at Home: 1.5-Generation U.S. Immigrants Navigating Membership after Returning to Mexico.” Ethnicities. 18(2), 208-224.

2017   “No Lawful Status: Immigrant Youth in a State of Exclusion.” Metropolitiques.

2017.  No Place Like Home: From High School Graduation to Deportation. Book chapter in Forced Out and Fenced In: Immigration Tales from the Field. Ed. Tanya Golash-Boza. Oxford University Press:193-202. 

2016. “Navigating DACA in Hospitable and Hostile States: State Responses and Access to Membership in the Wake of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (with Kara Cebulko; equal co-authorship). American Behavioral Scientist, 60(13), 1553-1574. doi: 10.1177/0002764216664942 

2015. “Clubs of Culture and Capital:  Immigrant and Second Generation Incorporation      in a New Destination School.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(5), 824-840. doi:   10.1080/01419870.2014.941892. (Selected as an editor’s pick for the free virtual    special issue, “Editor’s Selection” from October, 2014-April, 2015)

2014. “Youth Adaptation.” in Hidden Lives and Human Rights in America: Understanding the Controversies and Tragedies of Undocumented Immigration, vol. 2. Edited by Lois A. Lorentzen. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Press: 257-282.

2014. “Families Across Borders: The Emotional Impacts of Migration on Origin   Families.” International Migration, 52(3), 194-220. doi:10.1111/j.1468-     2435.2010.00672.x

2012. “Aging into Exclusion and Social Transparency: Undocumented Immigrant Youth and the Transition to Adulthood.”  Latino Studies 10(4): 499-522.

2007. “Celebrity Status,” Sociological Theory, Vol. 25 (4): 347-367. (with Charles Kurzman, Chelise Anderson, Clinton Key, Youn Ok Lee, Mairead Moloney, and Maria W. Van Ryn. ) 

Exhibitions / Performances

Media Appearances

2018. Featured Panelist. “Episode 33: Behind the Immigration Headlines.” Wake with Luke Vargas, Talk Media News United Nations bureau chief.

2016.  Featured Panelist. “Undocumented Latino Youth in Charlotte and North Carolina.” Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR News Source. One-hour discussion on the impacts of DACA in North Carolina.