Drew Professor’s Book Is the Best on Asian America
Sangay Mishra earns honor from the American Sociological Association.
September 2017 – A Drew University professor’s book earned a national award at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference in Montreal.
Sangay Mishra’s Desis Divided: the Political Lives of South Asian Americans was recognized as the best book on Asian America by the Asia and Asian America section of the association.
Desis Divided examines how immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh mobilize and participate in the American political process. More specifically, it analyzes the voting patterns of such immigrants, particularly in presidential elections.
Picking Political Science
The book—Mishra’s first—grew out of research that he began while pursuing a PhD in political science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He earned his doctorate in 2009 and joined Drew in 2013.
The award is significant in part because the association typically honors work from sociologists. Mishra is a political scientist and assistant professor in Drew’s Department of Political Science and International Relations.
“I was glad that they picked a political science book,” Mishra said. “That meant that it spoke to their research themes, their scholarly approach and the way they think about these issues.”
Analyzes a shift
In his research, Mishra identified a broader shift among Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party, particularly among immigrants from India. Changes in the Republican Party, particularly on issues such as immigration, religion and racial inclusivity, appeared to drive the shift.
As Mishra explained, Indian Americans “have a positive attitude toward government intervention in society and the economy.” As such, many believe that government should play a role in providing healthcare and reducing social inequality—two issues typically associated with the Democratic Party, Mishra noted.
Beyond the book, Mishra’s work has shaped the courses that he teaches, including the Politics of Immigration, Race and Politics, Muslims and the West and Immigrants in New York.
“A large part of my teaching is informed by my research and what I learn in my research,” he said. “All of that is very helpful in terms of developing teaching tools.”