Mara Sidney

Mara Sidney


msidney [at]



Office Location

723 Hill Hall

I am co-director and co-founder of the Global Urban Studies doctoral program and Professor of Political Science. My research and teaching areas include urban politics and policy, race/ethnicity and politics, immigration, and public policy. One thread connecting my work and my teaching is an interest in advocacy organizations and NGOs, their roles in urban governance, and their relationship to public policy. 

My current research and writing examines urban policy analysis, gentrification, and urban refugees and immigrants. These are interdisciplinary collaborative projects, some including cross-national comparative work. My most recent work (with David Kaufmann, ETH-Zurich) focuses on dimensions of urban policy analysis in an edited volume forthcoming from University of Michigan Press. I also have studied how local immigrant-serving NGOs help make a place for immigrants in civic life, and how national and local immigration and social welfare policies shape what NGOs do and how they do it.  Another area of expertise is housing. I have researched policies designed to combat racial discrimination, including Fair Housing laws and Community Reinvestment laws, along with other affordable housing strategies. I also studied education reform efforts in multiethnic cities. Always, I place special focus on the work of advocacy organizations in cities.  

Theoretically, I engage social construction, institutionalist, multi-level governance, and critical urban theory approaches, using them to examine inequality – its persistence, transformations, and the possibilities for breaking it down.  

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

790: 307 Public Policy Analysis

790: 309 The Politics of Policy Making

790: 364 Race & Ethnicity in U.S. Politics

790: 360 Urban Politics


Graduate Courses:

790: 550 Citizenship, Immigration Politics, American Identity

790: 545 Race & Ethnicity in U.S. Politics

790: 515 and 977: 624 Urban Governance in Global Perspective


2020 Scholar-Teacher Award, Rutgers University

2012 Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Governance & Public Administration, University of Ottawa

2009 Russell Sage Foundation Residency Program, July

2004 Social Science Research Council Summer Institute on Migration 

2004 Institute for Qualitative Research Methods

2002 Norton Long Young Scholar, Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association

2001 Best Dissertation in Urban Politics, Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association


B.S., Northwestern University, Journalism

M.A. University of Minnesota, Housing Studies

Ph.D. and M.A. University of Colorado, Political Science



Multiethnic Moments: The Politics of Urban Education, 2006, co-authored with Rodney E. Hero, Susan E. Clarke, Luis Fraga, Bari Anhalt Erlichson. Temple University Press.

Unfair Housing: How National Policy Shapes Community Action, 2003, University Press of Kansas. Named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine.


Edited Volume

Handbook of Public Policy Analysis, 2006, co-edited with Frank Fischer and Gerald Miller. Taylor & Francis. Sidney ― August 2010 3

Edited Symposium

Symposium: Toward an Urban Policy Analysis, co-edited with David Kaufmann. 2020. PS: Political Science and Politics, 53 (1) (Seven essays)

Refereed Journal Articles

“Measuring and Explaining Stalled Gentrification in Newark, New Jersey: The Role of Racial Politics,” forthcoming, Urban Affairs Review. (with Domingo Morel, Akira Drake Rodriguez, Nakeefa Garay, Adam Straub).

“Outside-In Political Science: Implementing Community-Engaged Pedagogy Across the Political Science Major,” forthcoming, PS: Political Science and Politics, (with Nermin Allam, Janice Gallagher, Jyl Josephson).

"Toward an Urban Policy Analysis: Incorporating Participation, Multilevel Governance, and Seeing Like A City," 2020, PS: Political Science and Politics, 53 (1) 1-5. (David Kaufmann and Mara Sidney)

“Settling In: A Comparison of Local Immigrant Organizations in the United States and Canada,” 2014, International Journal of Canadian Studies, 49: 105-134.

What Is Next for Policy Design and Social Construction Theory?” 2009, Policy Studies Journal, 37 (1) 103-119 (Anne Schneider and Mara Sidney).

 “The Struggle for Housing Equality: The Impact of Fair Housing and Community Reinvestment Laws on Local Advocacy,” 2004, Cityscape 7 (1) 135-163.

 “The Role of Ideas in Education Politics: Using Discourse Analysis to Understand Barriers to Reform in Multiethnic Cities,” 2002, Urban Affairs Review 38 (2) 253-279.

 “The Origin of U.S. Fair Housing Policy: Images of Race, Class, and Markets,” 2001, Journal of Policy History, 13 (2) 181-214.

 “Local Policy Subsystems and Issue Definition: An Analysis of Community Development Policy Change,” 1997. Urban Affairs Review, 32 (4) 490-512 (Edward G. Goetz and Mara Sidney).

 “Community Development Corporations as Neighborhood Advocates: A Study of the Political Activism of Nonprofit Developers,” 1995. Applied Behavioral Science Review, 3 (1) 1-20 (Edward G. Goetz and Mara Sidney).

 “Revenge of the Property Owners: Community Development and the Politics of Property,” 1994. Journal of Urban Affairs, 16 (4) 319-334 (Edward G. Goetz and Mara Sidney).


Chapters in Edited Volumes

“Immigrants as Clients or Claims-makers? How National Policy Ideas Shape Local Political Identities in the U.S. and Canada” 2020, in How Ideas Shape Urban Development, edited by Richardson Dilworth and Timothy Weaver, University of Pennsylvania Press.

“NGOs as Arrival Infrastructures: Pathways to Inclusion for Immigrants in the U.S. and Canada,” in Arrival Infrastructures: Migration and Urban Social Mobilities, 2019, edited by Bruno Meeus, Karel Arnaut, Bas van Heur, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 53-80.

“Immigration Politics and Policy,” in Guide to Urban Politics and Policy, 2016, edited by Richardson Dilworth and Christine Palus, Sage Publications.

“Outsiders/Insiders: How Local Immigrant Organizations Contest the Exclusion of Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S.” 2014, pp. 103-122, in New Border and Citizenship Politics, edited by Helen Schwenken and Sabine Russ, Palgrave Macmillan.

“Critical Perspectives on the City: Constructivist, Interpretive Analysis of Urban Politics,” 2010 in Critical Urban Studies: New Directions, edited by Jonathan Davies and David Imbroscio, SUNY Press.

“Poverty, Inequality, and Social Exclusion,” in Theories of Urban Politics (Second Edition), edited by Jonathan Davies and David Imbroscio, Sage Publications, 2008, pp. 171-187.

 “National Fair Housing Policy and its (Perverse) Effects on Local Advocacy,” in Fragile Rights Within Cities: Government, Housing, and Fairness, edited by John Goering, 2007, by Rowman and Littlefield: 203-228.

 “Policy Formulation and Policy Tools,” 2006, in Frank Fischer, Gerald Miller, and Mara Sidney, Eds., Handbook of Public Policy Analysis, Taylor & Francis.

 “Contested Images of Race and Place: The Politics of Housing Discrimination,” 2005, in Anne L. Schneider and Helen M. Ingram, Eds., Deserving and Entitled: Social Constructions and Public Policy, SUNY Press, pp. 111-137.

 “Fair Housing and Affordable Housing Advocacy: Reconciling the Dual Agenda,” 2005, Xavier de Souza Briggs, Ed., The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America, Brookings Institution Press, pp. 266-286.

Associated Programs

I co-direct the Global Urban Studies (GUS) doctoral program. 

Information about GUS can be found here: http://