Tahseen Shams

I am a doctoral candidate of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research lies at the intersection of globalization, transnationalism, international migration, and race and ethnicity. The overarching question that ties these interests together and guides all my research pursuits is how transnational, global forms of inequality intersect with race as a system of oppression to affect immigrant groups, particularly those coming from Muslim-majority developing countries to the United States.

Specifically, I study how global politics shapes Muslims’ identity formation—not just in terms of how others see Muslims, but also how Muslims see themselves. My current and future projects extend the existing paradigm in the international migration and transnationalism scholarship, which largely studies immigrants’ ties between only the sending and receiving societies. Focusing on South Asian Muslim immigrants and immigrant offspring, I instead contend that immigrants’ identification is shaped by global politics encompassing not just the homeland or hostland, but also those places lying beyond both sending and receiving countries–places I conceptualize as “elsewhere.”

Although I began my projects before the rise of what is now popularly referred to as the “Trump phenomenon,” my research has now become extremely relevant in light of the recent political developments not only in the U.S. but also around the world by showing how global politics becomes salient and shapes Muslim immigrants’ identity-making processes. My research has benefitted from an array of fellowships and grants, most notably the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and has produced several sole-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals, such as Sociological Forum, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Black Studies, and Cultural Dynamics.