Nazita Lajevardi

My research lies at the intersection of race and ethnic politics, representation, and discrimination. Broadly, I examine how racial minorities fare under American democracy and how their treatment in American politics has shifted over time. My legal background also plays an important part in shaping the questions I ask, such that a large portion of my work assesses elected officials’ responsiveness to their minority constituents and how these communities fare under disenfranchising laws.

Dissertation Title: A Comprehensive Study of Muslim-American Discrimination by Legislators, the Media, and the Masses

Description: In my dissertation, I focus on one question: to what extent do Muslim Americans face discrimination by legislators, the media, and masses? As such, it provides the first comprehensive analysis of Muslim American political discrimination. This question is important because while anecdotal signs of increasing Islamophobia in each of these domains are pervasive, they are unsupported by quantitative evidence. In contrast, my dissertation uses quantitative methods, including survey experiments, field experiments, and text analysis of media transcripts, to systematically develop a nuanced theory of America’s racial hierarchy that (a) takes into a account a new group (Muslim Americans) and (b) demonstrates that racial groups exhibit malleable status relative to other groups over time.


Zoltan Hajnal, Chair (UCSD)
Marisa Abrajano (UCSD)
James Fowler (UCSD)
Seth Hill (UCSD)
Matt Barreto (UCLA)
Jim Andreoni (UCSD)