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Nicholas De Genova  (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago 1999) holds an appointment as Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston.  During the 2024-25 academic year, he will be a Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.

Beginning in 2020, following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Professor De Genova was appointed to chair a Special Committee on Race and Social Justice in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.

Professor De Genova's academic work has contributed to multiple disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, geography, and political science, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of migration studies, border studies, citizenship studies, sociolegal studies, cultural studies, urban studies, postcolonial studies, American studies, European studies, and  ethnic studies -- specifically, Latino/a/x studies, African American studies, Asian American studies, Native American studies, Arab American studies, and critical whiteness studies. He is also a social and political theorist and critic.  


De Genova was included on Stanford University’s 2022 list of the Top 2% most influential academic researchers in all fields (including the natural sciences, engineering, and medicine), based on a comprehensive ranking of the citations of published work.

Professor De Genova is the Author of:

Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and "Illegality" in Mexican Chicago   

(Duke University Press, 2005);

co-author of  Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship  (with Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas; Routledge, 2003); 

editor of  Racial Transformations: Latinos and Asians Remaking the United States  (Duke University Press, 2006); 

co-editor of  The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement  (with Nathalie Peutz; Duke University Press, 2010);  


editor of  The Borders of "Europe": Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering  (Duke University Press, 2017);

co-editor of  Roma Migrants in the European Union: Un/Free Mobility

(with Can Yildiz; Routledge, 2019 );

co-editor of  Europa / Crisis:  Nuevas Palabras Claves en“la Crisis” en y de “Europa”   (with Martina Tazzioli; La Catarata, 2021).

In addition, he is the author of more than 100  scholarly articles and book chapters.

Professor De Genova is currently working on three new book projects.  One is an academic monograph: The Migrant Metropolis.  The second, Crossing the Line: A Memoir of Free Speech during Wartime, and the third, Whiteness: A Matter of Life and Death, address questions of political urgency for a broader public. 

Professor De Genova has also co-edited a new volume (with Soledad Álvarez Velasco, Gustavo Dias, and Eduardo Domenech), forthcoming from Duke University Press:​  The Borders of America: Migration, Control, and Resistance across Latin America and the Caribbean.  Another new book project, Border Abolitionism:  Migrant Struggles and the Law (co-edited with Daniel Morales), is also under review.


Professor De Genova's scholarship has garnered international attention.

De Genova has been invited to speak to diverse academic audiences in more than 35 countries, on 7 continents.  His scholarship has been published  in translation  in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, and Turkish.  Interviews with Professor De Genova have been published in English, Danish, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish, in addition to a video interview broadcast on Czech television.

Professor De Genova has professional academic experience in four countries. Prior to his current appointment at the University of Houston,  he held a permanent appointment as Reader in Urban Geography, where he was the Director of the Cities Research Group and then the Director of a research group on Spatial Politics, in the Department of Geography at King's College London. Previously, he was Reader in Anthropology at Goldsmiths/ University of London.  De Genova was also a visiting scholar in the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago, a Visiting Research Professor in the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam, a Marie Curie International Research Fellow at the University of Warwick (UK), and he held the Swiss Chair in Mobility Studies as a visiting Professor in the Institut für Sozialanthropolgie at the University of Bern.  Earlier in his career, De Genova was a professor of sociocultural, political, and legal Anthropology, Latinx, and comparative Ethnic Studies at Columbia University and Stanford University.


Professor De Genova conducted extensive ethnographic research among transnational Mexican/ migrant factory workers in Chicago during the 1990s.  His research concerned the conjunctures of racialization, labor subordination, and the politics of immigration and citizenship in the United States.  His subsequent research concerned the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship in the United States in the aftermath of the so-called War on Terror, as well as the securitization of human mobility and the diverse experiences of migrant labor and borders on a global scale.  More recently, he has also been interested in the intersections of migration, racialization, border struggles, and the production of urban space in the European context.

In collaboration with Sandro Mezzadra, political theorist at the University of Bologna, De Genova initiated a multi-disciplinary research network on “The ‘European’ Question: Postcolonial Perspectives on Migration, Nation, and Race” with migration scholars from the UK, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Latvia, and the Czech Republic, as well as Ecuador, Iran, Turkey, and the United States.   The first publication to emerge from this network appeared in the journal Cultural Studies (2015):  New Keywords:  Migration and Borders  (a collective writing project involving 17 co-authors, co-edited and introduced by Nicholas De Genova, Sandro Mezzadra, and John Pickles).


The second publication of the New Keywords project:  Europe / Crisis:  New Keywords of “the Crisis” in and of “Europe” (a collective writing project involving 15 co-authors; coordinated, co-edited and introduced by Nicholas De Genova and Martina Tazzioli) was published in February 2016 at Near Futures Online, the online companion to the Zone Books series “Near Futures”).  


With Martina Tazzioli, De Genova also coordinated and co-edited a third iteration of the New Keywords project:  Minor Keywords of Political Theory: Migration as a Critical Standpoint, published in the journal Environment & Planning C: Politics and Space (2021).  This project is focused on concepts, categories, and other notions that are often widely used in both in public political discourse and  political theory as well as in the migration and refugee studies literatures, but which remain remarkably under-theorized outside of migration studies, and which hitherto have lacked any extensive political and historical genealogy.  This network involves 22 co-authors from 13 countries, working collaboratively on 11 topics. 

De Genova was the Project Advisor and a participant in a collaborative international network involving more than 70 researchers in 21 countries, initiated and coordinated by Soledad Álvarez Velasco, on:

 COVID-19 and (Im)Mobility in the Americas / COVID-19 e (In)Movilidad en las Américas.

Nicholas De Genova is also the Host of the first four episodes of the podcast,  Metropolis Rising  (launched in February 2021).

Brighton, UK, 2016  (M. Rodriguez)

Metropolis Rising podcast logo.jpg



Migration and Borders

1986 - 1999:

University of Chicago

BA,  MA,  PhD

Race and Class

Citizenship and Nationalism

The Production of Space

London, 2016  (M. Rodriguez)

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