Wesley Hiers, PhD


2421 Wesley W. Posvar Hall


Formerly a post-doctoral research associate at Pitt from 2013-15, I am now in my second year as a Visiting Lecturer in the department. During 2015-16, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Oberlin College, where I taught several courses on race & ethnicity. I completed my PhD at UCLA, writing a dissertation titled “American Ethnocracy: Origins and Development of Legal Racial Exclusion in Comparative Perspective, 1600s to 1900s.”  Earlier, I taught grades 6-8 in Washington, D.C. for five years, initially through Teach For America, and before that I completed a Master’s in Industrial Relations at Cornell University, writing a thesis that used social movement theory and comparative-historical analysis to explain the divergent fates of independent union movements in Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and South Africa between the 1960s and 1990s.

Fields of Interest

  • Comparative Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
  • Political Sociology
  • Urban Sociology
  • Historical Sociology
  • Social Inequality


  • PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 2013

Patterns of racial (dis)accumulation at the intersection of political institutions and urban processes since the 1930s

“Party Re-alignment on Racial Policy in the Twentieth-Century United States: New Evidence from the Senate in Long-Run Perspective”

“Equal State Representation as Institutional Racism: Senate Obstruction of Civil Rights, 1938-1964”

“The Colonial Roots of Racial Ethnocracy and Ethnocentric Hierarchical Inclusion in Former European Settlement Colonies”

“National Trauma and the Fear of Foreigners: How Past Geopolitical Threat Heightens Anti-immigration Sentiment Today.” Social Forces 96(1): 361-388 [2017]. (co-authored with Thomas Soehl and Andreas Wimmer)

Politicized Ethnicity: A Comparative Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), co-authors Anaїd Flesken and Anke Weber

"Party Matters: Racial Closure in the Nineteenth-Century United States." Social Science History 37(2): 255-308 [2013]

"Is Nationalism the Cause or Consequence of the End of Empire?" Pp.212-254 in Nationalism and War, edited by John A. Hall and Siniša Malešević (Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-author Andreas Wimmer

0010 Introduction to Sociology

0150 Social Theory

0230 Social Research Methods

0434 Political Sociology

0460 Minority Groups

1286 Race and the City