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Aliya Saperstein

photo of Professor Saperstein
Aliya Saperstein
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2008


Professor Saperstein received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from the University of California-Berkeley. In 2016, she received the Early Achievement Award from the Population Association of America. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at Sciences Po and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Her research focuses on the social processes through which people come to perceive, name, and deploy seemingly immutable categorical differences —such as race and sex—and how such processes create and maintain social inequality. Her current research projects explore several strands of this subject, including:

  • The relationship between individual-level racial fluidity and the maintenance of group boundaries, racial stereotypes, and hierarchies.
  • The implications of methodological decisions, especially the measurement of race/ethnicity and sex/gender in surveys, for studies of stratification and health disparities.

This research has been published for social science audiences in the American Journal of Sociology,the Annual Review of Sociology, Demography, Gender & Societyand Ethnic and Racial Studies,among other venues, and for general science audiences in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesand PLoS One. It also has been recognized with multiple article awards, and gained attention from national media outlets, including NPR and The Colbert Report.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

Related News

Feb 11 2019 | Stanford News
Stanford sociologists explore who does, and doesn’t, want a DNA ancestry test Stanford sociologists found that racial identity, when ancestors immigrated and knowledge of family history influence people’s decision to take a DNA test.
Aug 19 2015 | Stanford Report
New research reveals that most social surveys are not measuring what surveyors think is being measured when it comes to sex and gender. To better reflect today's diversity, Stanford sociologist Aliya Saperstein says survey designers should ask themselves if using only one question with two possible...