Aristide R. Zolberg was born in Brussels in 1931, survived Nazi persecution, and emigrated to the United States in 1948, where he became self-supporting at age 16. His wife, sociologist Vera L. Zolberg, also taught at the New School until 2012. After attending Columbia University and Boston University, he served in the U.S. Army in 1955-56, and received his PhD in political science at the University of Chicago in 1961 with a specialization in African studies. He initially taught at the University of Wisconsin, then at the University of Chicago, and moved to the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York in 1983. In between, he held visiting appointments at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (“Sciences Po”), the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and the College de France, all in Paris, as well as the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, the Salzburg Seminar, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Oslo)
A distinguished political scientist and one of world’s preeminent scholars of comparative politics, the history of international migration, nationalism and ethnicity, and immigration policy in North America and Western Europe, he served for many years as the founding director of the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship at The New School. He mentored and inspired several generations of colleagues and students at The New School. Among his publications are One-Party Government in the Ivory Coast (Princeton University Press, 1961; second edition, 1967), Creating Political Order: The Party-States of West Africa (1966; reprinted 1985); both were based on extensive field work in sub-Saharan Africa. After a decade of African research, he broadened his scope to the study of ethnic conflict, state-formation, and international migration; the results include Escape from Violence: The Refugee Crisis in the Developing World, co-authored with Astri Suhrke and Sergio Aguayo (1989), and a collection of essays, How Many Exceptionalisms? Explorations in Comparative Macroanalysis (Temple University Press, 2008). His book, A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America(Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA; and Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 2006), will remain one of the most authoritative accounts of immigration history in the United States and a compelling story of how immigration shaped this country.
From 1983 to 1991, he held the University-in-Exile Chair established by the City of Berlin at the Graduate Faculty of the New School. In 1981, the French government awarded him the Palmes Académiques in recognition of distinguished service to French Higher Education. In 2008, he was attributed the “distinguished scholar” award from the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies section of the International Studies Association.
Read the full post from The New School here.