New School professor Aristide R. Zolberg, one of the world’s leading voices on the politics, history, and ethics of immigration, has died at the age of 81. Zolberg served as Walter A. Eberstadt Professor of Politics and University in Exile Professor Emeritus at The New School for Social Research. A distinguished political scientist and a preeminent scholar of comparative politics, the history of international migration, nationalism and ethnicity, and immigration policy in North America and Western Europe, he served for many years as the founding director of the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship at The New School.
Early in life, Zolberg experienced first-hand the perils of war, ethnic hatred, displacement, and exile. A Belgian Jew, Ary was born shortly before the Nazis rose to power, and survived World War II under an assumed Catholic identity in France. After the war he became a refugee in the United States, and earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Chicago.
Zolberg mentored and inspired several generations of colleagues and students at The New School, where he was first appointed as Distinguished Professor of Political Science in 1983, as well as at the University of Chicago and many other institutions where he held academic appointments. Zolberg’s book, A Nation by Design, remains one of the most authoritative accounts of immigration history in the United States and a compelling story of how immigration shaped this country. His humanity and erudition will be missed by countless colleagues, students, and readers.