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David Cook-Martin

Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder
Chapter Member: Colorado SSN

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About David

Cook-Martín's work as a political sociologist focuses on understanding migration, race, ethnicity, law, and citizenship in a global perspective. He is the author of Scramble for Citizens (Stanford University Press, winner of the American Sociological Association’s Thomas & Znaniecki Best Book Award) and Culling the Masses (Harvard University Press, American Sociological Association’s 2017 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award and the 2015 Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award). Cook-Martín is the Chair-elect of the American Sociological Association's International Migration Section.


How Legacies of Racism Persist in U.S. Immigration Policy

  • David Scott FitzGerald

In the News

Quoted by Barbara Rodriguez in "Are Iowa Immigration, Sanctuary Cities Bills Needed?," Des Moines Register, February 26, 2017.
Opinion: "Trump’s Immigration Order is Bad Foreign Policy," David Cook-Martin (with David Scott FitzGerald), The Conversation, January 29, 2017.
Opinion: "Why Trump’s Wall with Mexico is So Popular, and Why It Won’t Work," David Cook-Martin, The Conversation, January 24, 2017.
Quoted by in "Four Quotes from the Sixth GOP Presidential Debate, Explained by Experts," The Conversation, January 15, 2016.
Opinion: "More Mexicans are Leaving the U.S. than Coming across the Border," David Cook-Martin, The Conversation, January 5, 2016.
Opinion: "The Cost of Obama's Indecision," David Cook-Martin, Talking Points Memo Café, October 3, 2014.
Opinion: "Secure Borders Hype Gets It Wrong," David Cook-Martin, Huffington Post, April 23, 2013.
Quoted by Grant Schulte in "Iowa Population Shifts from Rural to Urban," USA Today, February 17, 2011.
Opinion: "Iowa’s Census Blues and the Dream Act," David Cook-Martin, Des Moines Register, January 3, 2011.
Quoted by William McQuillen in "Arizona Will Appeal Ruling on Immigration Law, Governor Says," Bloomberg News, July 28, 2010.
Opinion: "Alice in Arizona," David Cook-Martin, Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 9, 2010.
Quoted by Silvia Struthers in "Argentinos: Amigos, Cultura y Tradiciones," Houston Chronicle, June 18, 2010.
Guest on Iowa Public Radio, May 5, 2010.


"Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas" (with David Scott FitzGerald) (Harvard University Press, 2014).
Analyzes legal records from 22 countries between 1790 and 2010 to present a history of the rise and fall of racial selection in the immigration and nationality policies of the Western Hemisphere, demonstrating that democracy and racist policies have coexisted for most of this period, but are not inextricably linked.
"The Scramble for Citizens: Dual Nationality and State Competition for Immigrants" (Stanford University Press, 2013).
Analyzes immigration and nationality laws in Argentina, Italy, and Spain since the mid-19th century to understand the link between individuals and their countries of origin, demonstrating that in an age of widespread global migration, plural citizenship is more common – and more understandable – than previously believed. Nationality laws are not solely the outcome of a competition among domestic policy interest groups, but rather at key moments have resulted from a scramble among states to affiliate and gain the allegiance of migrants.
"Migration Control" in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, edited by Immanuel Ness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).
Argues that the capacity to control or legitimately manage the movement of people across borders and the conditions of their permanence within a jurisdiction is a feature of modern state organizations that was accomplished over a long time. Migration control is at an historical peak, but has never meant absolute control over migrants.
"The Problem with Similarity: Ethnic Affinity Migrants in Spain" (with Anahí Viladrich). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 1 (January 2009): 151-170.
Shows that ethnic affinity is not a reliable predictor of assimilation. What makes putative co-ethnics desirable as community members is not what makes them desirable as immigrant workers.
"Rules, Red Tape, and Paperwork: The Archaeology of State Control over Migrants, 1850-1930" Journal of Historical Sociology 21, no. 1 (March 2008): 82-118.

Demonstrates that migration control has been an uneven historical accomplishment of states that faced the dilemmas of making citizens and attracting workers in a context of increased migration flows.

"Soldiers and Wayward Women: Gendered Citizenship, and Migration Policy in Argentina, Italy, and Spain since 1850" Citizenship Studies 10, no. 5 (November 2006): 571-590.
Explores how and with what consequences migration and nationality policies have been gendered. These policies have reflected the dynamics of the political fields in which they have been crafted. In addition, the administrative mechanisms coupled with these laws have operated differently with respect to men and women. The consequences of these laws and mechanisms have persisted even when the letter of the law has ostensibly become gender neutral.