Natalie Masuoka

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Dept. of Political Science
Packard Hall
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.2034
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Associate Professor

American Politics, Political Behavior and Public Opinion, Race and Ethnic Politics

Natalie Masuoka's research specializes in the area of American racial and ethnic politics with a focus on political behavior, public opinion and political psychology. Her work pays attention to the ways in which race, immigration and identity influence political attitude formation among racial minorities, in particular those new immigrant groups, Asian Americans and Latinos. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine.

Her most recent book, The Politics of Belonging: Race, Public Opinion and Immigration (co-authored with Jane Junn, University of Chicago Press, 2013) seeks to explain why racial groups vary in how they think about immigration and immigration policy in the U.S. Rather than simply characterizing Americans as either nativist or not nativist, this book argues that controversies over immigration policy reflect questions over political membership and belonging to the nation. Through a historical analysis, the book traces how Americans have come to assume that there exists an inherent link between race and citizenship. Given these racial foundations of American identity, evidence shows that position in the racial hierarchy structures the context in which people make judgments about immigration policy.

Her second book project tentatively entitled "Multiracial Identification and Racial Politics in the United States" (currently under review) studies the political consequences of the "two or more races" population, or those who self-identify as mixed race or multiracial. This book argues that what is new and significant about modern multiracial Americans is that they are advocating for the right to assert, what is coined in this book as "identity choice." By advocating the right to choose their own identity as multiracial as opposed to accepting an established racial category such as white or black, self-identified multiracials embrace a very different practice of racial classification than what most Americans choose to follow. Using a multi-method approach, "Multiracial Identification" explains how and why multiracials came to embrace identity choice, and demonstrates the political implications of this perspective.

Other research by Professor Masuoka has been published in journals such as American Politics Research, Perspectives on Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and Social Science Quarterly.

PS 11: Introduction to American Politics
PS 100: Politics of Immigration Policy in the U.S.
PS 103: Political Science Research Methods
PS 106: Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S.
PS 107: Political Participation and Mass Behavior