The seeds of Richard Alba's interest in matters ethnic and racial were sown during his childhood in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s and nurtured intellectually at Columbia University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate education, completing his Ph.D. in 1974.
In addition to race/ethnicity, his teaching and research focus on international migration, in the U.S. and in Europe, where he has done research in France and in Germany, with the support of Fulbright grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund and Russell Sage Foundation. His books include Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (1990); Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity (1985); and, most recently, Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (2003), co-written with Victor Nee. The last book won the 2004 Thomas & Znaniecki Book Award of the American Sociological Association and the 2005 Mirra Komarovsky Award of the Eastern Sociological Society. It was also the 2003 Honorable mention of the Association of American Publishers for the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Annual Award in Sociology & Anthropology.
He has been elected Vice President of the American Sociological Association and President of the Eastern Sociological Society. Last year, he delivered the Nathan Huggins Lectures at Harvard University. They have led to the book, Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America, which will be published by Harvard University Press in 2009.