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Justin Gest

Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Justin Gest


3351 Fairfax Drive MS3B1
Arlington, VA 22201


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Justin Gest, Professor

Justin Gest is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. His teaching and research interests include comparative politics, immigration, and demographic change.

His first book, Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2010), studied Muslim political behavior in Western democracies. This research explored the origins of extremism and civic engagement among a stigmatized community of citizens. 

His second book, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2016), examines the complicated marginality of white working class people in the United States and Britain, where they have been the backbone of movements to elect Donald Trump and leave the European Union.

His third book, The White Working Class: What Everyone Needs To Know, provides an essential overview of political, sociological, psychological and economic research on the politics of white working class people in the United States and Britain. 

His fourth book, Crossroads: Comparative Immigration Regimes in a World of Demographic Change (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018), is co-authored with Anna Boucher. This work presents a systematic, comprehensive, and demographic data-driven taxonomy of migration regimes across 30 countries. It explores the question of what drives convergence and variation in immigration policy worldwide. 

His research has been published in journals including Citizenship StudiesComparative Political StudiesEthnic and Racial StudiesGlobal GovernanceGlobal Policy, the International Migration ReviewMigration Studies, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Review of Middle East Studies. He has also published commentary, analysis or contributed reporting to a number of newspapers including The Boston GlobeThe Guardian, the Houston ChronicleThe Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Politico, Reuters, the St. Louis Post-DispatchThe Times, and The Washington Post.

From 2010 to 2014, Professor Gest was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in Harvard University’s Departments of Government and Sociology. In 2014, he received the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, Harvard’s highest award for teaching. In 2013, he received the 2013 Star Family Prize for Student Advising, Harvard’s highest award for student advising. From 2007 to 2010, while a doctoral student, he co-founded and served as the co-director of the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). 

He is a product of Los Angeles Unified School District’s University High School in West Los Angeles, where he grew up. He later earned his bachelor’s degree in Government at Harvard University and his PhD in Government from the LSE.

Areas of Research:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Diversity
  • Europe
  • Immigration Policy
  • International Migration
  • Islam
  • Middle East
  • Minority Politics
  • Muslim Politics
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • United States