Penn Arts and Sciences

Indian Americans: The Life and Work of a New Immigrant Community (Devesh Kapur)

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

View now on YouTube.

PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN  – whether they are Indian-born or U.S.-born – make up well less than one percent of the American population.  Despite its small size, this community has been called a “Model Minority” that has been unusually successful in pursuing the “American Dream” through careers in high-skill occupations and entrepreneurship.  The talk focuses on four major themes in the immigration literature – selection, assimilation, entrepreneurship, and clustering – to analyze the specific characteristics of this community. Unlike most immigrant groups who enter the country at a disadvantage (relative to non-Hispanic Whites) and converge within a generation or two, the advantages of exceptional positive selection of Indian immigrants at the time of entry appears to be sustained through the next generation.

Devesh Kapur is Associate Professor of Political Science at Penn and Madan Lal Sobti Associate Professor for the Study of Contemporary India. He was appointed Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India in 2006. Prior to arriving at Penn, Professor Kapur was Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and before that the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard. His research focuses on human capital, national and international public institutions, and the ways in which local-global linkages, especially international migration and international institutions, affect political and economic change in developing countries, especially India.

Kapur’s books include Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India (Princeton University Press, 2010) and, with John McHale, Give Us Your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World (2006). He is the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize awarded to the best junior faculty, Harvard College, in 2005.

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