Alex Stepick

Professor of Anthropology

Director, Immigration & Ethnicity Institute Acting Director

Director, Research Institute on Social & Economic Policy (RISEP)


BA, University of California at Santa Cruz, Anthropology, 1970 PhD, University of California at Irvine, Social Sciences, 1974


Tel: 305.348.2247 |

I have been studying Miami and especially the impact of immigration on Miami for over 30 years. My most well known work is probably, City on the Edge (U California Press, 1994), which won both the Robert Park Award for the Best Book in Urban Sociology and the Anthony Leeds award for the Best Book in Urban Anthropology. I have also written extensively on Haitian refugees and was awarded the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology for my work with Haitians. I have written a couple of books with my FIU GSS colleague, Guillermo Grenier: Miami Now! (U Florida Press 1992) and This Land Is Our Land (U California Press, 2003) which also had Max Castro and Marvin Dunn as co-authors. I also co-wrote a book, Churches and Charity (Rutgers U Press, 2009), with another FIU GSS colleague, Sarah Mahler and Terry Rey who used to be in FIU’s Religious Studies Department. is an application of social capital theory to religious congregations. My previous work in general has been on immigrants, established residents, and power, focusing particularly on South Florida. With Carol Dutton Stepick I am writing a comprehensive review and revision of segmented assimilation theory.

At the undergraduate level, I focus on teaching Research Methods, which I have been doing for more than 35 years. I believe methods can best, perhaps only, learned by actually “doing” methods, i.e. through hands-on exercises. The class consists primarily of weekly assignments through which students learn both quantitative and qualitative methods, including how to obtain and analyze data from the US Census. While students generally view the class as difficult, they also claim they learn a tremendous amount. At the graduate level, I focus on not only research methods, but also race, ethnicity, and immigration. Graduate classes are always seminars in which students lead the discussions. My goal in graduate classes is that at the end students should be able to teach a course on the material at the undergraduate level and pass a comprehensive exam in the area at the graduate level.

I have long directed the Immigration & Ethnicity Institute (IEI) and recently assumed the Acting Directorship of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP). I was also previously Director of graduate studies in our Department. IEI’s focus is research on immigration and ethnicity, particularly in South Florida. RISEP is engaged in social justice research and works with local grassroots organizations to provide socially scientifically valid data and analysis that advances social justice in the local community. Both institutes seek to provide training and experience in methods and analysis to students.

In 2008-09, I had my sabbatical and a Fulbright Fellowship at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. I attended numerous conferences and was invited to give lectures throughout Europe on various topics concerning international migration and migrant integration. With Carol Dutton Stepick, I produced a critique of segmented assimilation, which appeared in Ethnic and Racial Studies (vol 33, issue 7, pp: 1149-1167). Beginning in the Fall of 2009, I was appointed Professor of Sociology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Since then, I have been splitting my time between there and FIU.