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Syed Ali

Syed Ali

Assistant Professor of Sociology

B.A., Binghamton University (SUNY)M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia


Syed Ali grew up in New York City and is excited to be living in Brooklyn and to be at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, where he has been teaching since 2003. His courses include introductory sociology, sociological theory, migration and Muslim societies.

Professor Ali is the recipient of two Fulbright fellowships: one in 1997-98 to conduct research in India and one in 2006 to conduct research in Dubai. He has engaged in ethnographic research among Muslims in Hyderabad, India; among Muslims and South Asians in New York City; and most recently, among foreign expatriate residents in Dubai.

His research interests have, for the most part, centered on the intersection of ethnic identity and migration. One piece of his research in India looked at how a culture of migration helps to shape the effects of remittances from migrants on status relations and marriage patterns among Muslims in Hyderabad, which further promotes migration abroad. In New York, he studied how the second-generation children of immigrants culturally assimilate and how peer interactions, that is, who one hangs out with, shapes to what degree an individual will become more “Americanized” or will be more “ethnic.” His research in Dubai examined how Dubai’s stories – history, economic development, culture – are dependent on the “permanent impermanence” of expatriate foreign workers who comprise more than 90 percent of the population and who, for the most part, live in Dubai on three-year, renewable visas.
When he’s not in his office, Professor Ali can usually be found in Fort Greene Park or in the pottery studio.


Immigration and Transnationalism, Ethnicity, Social Inequality


  • Author, "Dubai: Gilded Cage" (2010)
  • Author, “Dubai’s permanently impermanent guest workers,” to be published in Contexts
  • Author, “Understanding acculturation among second-generation South Asian Muslims in the United States,” published in Contributions to Indian Sociology (2008)
  • Author, “‘Go west young man’: The culture of migration among Muslims in Hyderabad, India,” published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2007)
  • Author, “Why here, why now? Young Muslim women wearing hijab,” published in Muslim World (2005)
  • Author, “Collective and elective ethnicity: Caste among urban Muslims in India,” published in Sociological Forum (2002) and reprinted in "Modern Indian Culture and Society" (2009)

Professional Affiliations

  • Recipient, Fulbright Fellowship (2006)
  • Recipient, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (1997)

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