Hajar Yazdiha

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Hajar Yazdiha
Email hyazdiha@usc.edu Office Phone (213) 740-3533

Research & Practice Areas

Social Movements, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Culture, Law and Society, Political Sociology, Collective Memory, Imagined Futures

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Equity Research Institute,


  • Ph.D. Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017
  • M.A. Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2013
  • B.A. English, University of Virginia
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Ford Foundation, 2022-2023
    • Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Southern California, 2017-2018
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Hajar Yazdiha is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, faculty affiliate of the Equity Research Institute, and a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar (2023-25). She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University. Dr. Yazdiha received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is a former Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and Turpanjian Postdoctoral Fellow of the Chair in Civil Society and Social Change.

    Dr. Yazdiha’s research examines the mechanisms underlying the politics of inclusion and exclusion as they shape intergroup boundaries, ethno-racial identities, and intergroup relations. This work crosses subfields of race and ethnicity, migration, social movements, culture, and law using mixed methods including interview, survey, historical, and computational text analysis.

    Her new book entitled, “The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights
    Movement” (Princeton University Press) examines how a wide range of rivaling social movements across the political spectrum – from the Muslim Rights Movement to the Nativist Movement – deploy competing interpretations of the Civil Rights Movement to make claims around national identity and inclusion. Comparing how rival movements constituted by minority and majority groups with a range of identities — racial, gender, sexuality, religious, moral, political — battle over collective memory, the book documents how political action becomes directed toward divergent futures.

    In other research projects, Dr. Yazdiha investigates these questions through three central lines of inquiry. A first strand of research explores how social exclusion is produced in macro-structures like laws, policies, and media. A second strand of research explores how and when groups develop perceptions of ‘groupness’ and collective identity in relation to these broader structures. A third strand of research investigates the collective behaviors that result from perceptions of groupness and their outcomes.

    This research provides new insights into the relationship between macro-level institutional structures, meso-level group processes of collective identity formation and collective behavior, and micro-level perceptions, emotions, and mental health.

    Through her research, Dr. Yazdiha works to understand how systems of inequality become entrenched and how groups develop strategies to resist, contest, and manifest alternative futures.

    Research Keywords

    Social Movements, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Culture, Law and Society, Political Sociology, Collective Memory, Imagined Futures

  • Book

    • Yazdiha, H. (2023). The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement. Princeton University Press. Order here

    Journal Article

    • Yazdiha, H. (2023). The Relational Politics of Racialized Policing: Community Policing for Counterterrorism, Suspect Communities, and Muslim Immigrants’ Provisional Belonging. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2022). Racialized Organizations in Racialized Space: How Socio-spatial Divisions Activate Symbolic Boundaries in a Charter School and a Public School. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2022). Building and Wedging Strategic Alliances: Racial Framing Contests in the Immigrant Rights and Nativist Counter-Movements. American Behavioral Scientist.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2021). Toward a Du Boisian Framework of Immigrant Incorporation: Racialized Contexts, Relational Identities, and Muslim American Collective Action. Social Problems. Vol. 68 (2), pp. 300-320.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2020). An Intersectional Theory of Strategic Action: Socially-Located Memories and the Challenge of Muslim Mobilization Against Police. Mobilization. Vol. 25 (4), pp. 475-492.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2020). All the Muslims Fit to Print: Racial Frames as Mechanisms of Muslim Ethnoracial Formation in the New York Times from 1992-2010. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
    • Yazdiha, H., Council, L., Johnson, C., Santellano, K. (2020). Linking Contexts, Intersectionality, and Generations: Toward a Multidimensional Theory of Millennials and Social Change. Sociological Perspectives.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2019). Exclusion through acculturation? Comparing first- and second-generation European Muslims’ perceptions of discrimination across four national contexts. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol. 42 (5), pp. 782-800.
    • Yazdiha, H. (2017). The relationality of law and culture: Dominant approaches and new directions for cultural sociologists. Sociology Compass. Vol. 11 (12)
    • Yazdiha, H., Kurzman, C., Kamal, A. (2017). Ideology and Threat Assessment: Law Enforcement Evaluation of Muslim and Right-Wing Extremism. Socius. Vol. 3
    • Yazdiha, H. (2014). Law as Movement Strategy: How the Islamophobia Movement Institutionalizes Fear Through Legislation. Social Movement Studies. Vol. 13 (2)
    • Yazdiha, H. (2010). Conceptualizing Hybridity: Deconstructing Boundaries through the Hybrid. Formations: The Graduate Center Journal of Social Research. Vol. 1