Monica W. Varsanyi

Monica W. Varsanyi

Monica W. Varsanyi
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PhD     Geography, UCLA 
MA      Geography, University of Washington
BA       Geography-Environmental Studies and International Development Studies, UCLA


Monica Varsanyi is Professor of Geography and Executive Officer of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and in the Political Science Department at John Jay College, CUNY.  She is a scholar of migration, membership, and the state, with a specific focus on unauthorized immigration and immigration federalism in the United States.  Her books include Taking Local Control: Immigration Policy Activism in U.S. Cities and States (Stanford University Press, 2010, edited volume) and Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines (with Doris Marie Provine, Scott Decker, and Paul Lewis; University of Chicago Press, 2016; winner of the “2018 Outstanding Book in Policing Award” by the American Society of Criminology).  Her current research project, with Marie Provine, traces the evolution of immigration policies and the tensions of immigration federalism as they have played out in New Mexico and Arizona from the Territorial Period to the present.  She is also working on a project that explores the nativist roots of voter disenfranchisement in the United States.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities.  She is co-editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance, and on the editorial board of the sociolegal journal Law & Policy.  She also serves on the Research Advisory Board of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City.  When she's not working, she enjoys being outdoors in the American West, backpacking, camping, hiking, trail running, bird watching, and skiing.     

Scholarly Work

Selected Publications

  • Varsanyi, Monica W. (2020) “Hispanic Racialization, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936,” Journal of American Ethnic History. 40(1). 
  • Provine, Marie, Monica Varsanyi, Paul Lewis, and Scott Decker. (2016) Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Winner of the “2018 Outstanding Book in Policing Award” of the American Society of Criminology.
  • Varsanyi, Monica; Paul Lewis; Marie Provine; and Scott Decker. (2012) “A multilayered jurisdictional patchwork: Immigration federalism in the United States.” Law & Policy. 34(2): 138-158.
  • Varsanyi, Monica W. (2011) “Neoliberalism and nativism: Local anti-immigrant policy activism and an emerging politics of scale” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 35(2): 295-311.
  • Varsanyi, Monica (ed.) (2010) Taking Local Control: Immigration Policy Activism in U.S. Cities and States. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Varsanyi, Monica W. (2008) “Rescaling the ‘alien’, rescaling personhood: Neoliberalism, immigration and the state,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98(4):  877-896.
  • Varsanyi, Monica W. (2006) “Interrogating ‘urban citizenship’ vis-à-vis undocumented migration,” Citizenship Studies 10(2):  229-249. 
Area of Expertise

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

Immigration federalism in the United States; geographies of citizenship and membership; law and society; state and urban politics and policy; research design.