Shirin Shahrokni

I am an Associate Professor in Sociology at the Glendon Campus of York University. I am also a member of the Graduate Program of Sociology (at the Keele Campus) and the Master's in Public and International Affairs Program at Glendon. 

In the year 2022-2023, I am a Visiting Fellow at the CNRS Cresppa Research Unit "Genre, Travail, et Mobilites" in Paris:

Prior to coming to York, I graduated from the University of Cambridge (UK) in Sociology and completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Institut National D'Etudes Demographiques (INED) in Paris. 

My primary areas of research and teaching are in the race politics of migration and inequalities -specifically in the spheres of work and education. My first book, Higher Education and Social Mobility in France - Challenges and Possibilities among Descendants of North African Immigrants in France (Routledge 2020) documents the lived experiences of educational mobility among children of working-class post-colonial migrants in France. Drawing on life-history interviews with students and graduates of the country's elite higher education institutions, the Grandes Ecoles, the book points to the ways in which France's racial order shapes the trajectories and experiences of those who have "made it" through paths of "excellence" and have thus embodied the figures of successful integration. From the systemic barriers to learn about, train for, and gain admission from these elite institutions, the everyday manifestations of gendered racism in their schools, to the challenges of gaining fair recognition for their qualifications in their work experiences, the narratives reveal that, contrary to the tenacity of the principle of color-blindness and the myth of meritocracy tied to France's Republican ideology, racism, sustained by the persistence of colonial representations and practices, resolutely structures the mobility pathways and constrains the horizon of possibilities available to young adults of post-colonial migrant background.

I am currently involved in 3 ongoing research projects:

Since 2018, I am one of the co-investigators of RAIS, the racialization of Asian International Students, a cross-national research (Principal Investigator: Dr. Jean Michel Montsion) investigation the race dynamics shaping the everyday experiences of Asian International students in Canada, not just on campuses and in the classroom, but also often as workers and city dwellers across various Canadian localities.

I am the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC IDG (2020) research project on francophone migration in Canada outside of Quebec. Since the early 2000’s, the federal government has set to respond to the declining demographic weight of Francophone communities in Anglophone Canada through migration. Yet, the numbers of francophone migrants admitted yearly have been stagnating since then. Using mixed methods, and building on critical race, postcolonial and feminist perspectives, this work looks at the differentiated recruitment strategies, promotional campaigns and initiatives put forth by the government across various Francophone regions (France, North Africa, West Africa, Haiti, etc.) to recruit migrants to Canada, outside of the Quebec province. Drawing on in-depth interviews with francophone migrants living in the province of Ontario, it further documents their trajectories, with a focus on their work, housing, and neighborhood experiences.

Since September 2022, I am also part of a collaborative research project entitled “ et Proprietaires” (MIGPROP) led by Dr. Anna Perraudin and with co-Investigator Dr. Elise Palomares. Employing a transnational framework, MIGPROP delves into the housing experiences of racialized migrants who become homeowners, incorporating analyses of gender, racialization, and political economy.

Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology, University of Cambridge                                                  

PhD Dissertation Title: Injuries, Rewards and Promises of Intergenerational Educational Mobility from a Minority Perspective. School Success Narratives of Descendants of North African Immigrants in France.

Master of Arts, Sociology, McGill University                                           

Master’s Dissertation title: a sociological analysis of ethnic conflicts in post-colonial societies

Bachelor of Arts Sociology                             

McGill University


Shahrokni, Shirin. 2020. Higher Education and Social Mobility in France
Challenges and Possibilities among Descendants of North African Immigrants
 Routledge, Studies in Migration and Diaspora Series 

Journal Articles

Chattejee, S., Shirin Shahrokni, Monisha Poojary, and Bianca Gomez. 2022. “Is ‘Another university is possible’?: A study of anti-racism, Indigenizing and internationalizing initiatives in two Canadian postsecondary institutions’, Comparative and International Education (Special Issue on International Students in Canada).

Shahrokni, S., Magnan, Marie-Odile and J-M Montsion. 2022. “Pour une étude critique des inégalités de traitement vécues par les « étudiant.e.s en provenance d’Asie » et des écueils des institutions d’enseignement supérieur canadiennes les accueillant, Comparative and International Education (Special Issue on International Students in Canada).

Shahrokni, Shirin. 2018. The Collective Roots and Rewards of Upward Educational Mobility, British Journal of Sociology, doi: 10.1111/1468-4446.12349

Shahrokni, Shirin. 2017. The Transnational Career Aspirations of Descendants of Maghrebi, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies,

Shahrokni, Shirin. 2015. The Minority Culture of Mobility of Upwardly Mobile Descendants of North African Immigrants in France, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(7): 1050-1067

Shahrokni, Shirin.  2007. Identification transnationale chez les jeunes adultes iraniens de ‘seconde génération’ vivant à Montréal, Revue du Groupe de Recherche Diversité Urbaine pp. 69-85

Book Chapters

Shahrokni, Shirin. 2022. ""There is no such thing as Non-Racial Capitalism"", In Reading Sociology: Decolonizing Canada (4th ed), Johanne Jean-Pierre, Vanessa Watts, Carl E. James, Patrizia Albanese, Xiaobei Chen and Michael Graydon (eds)

Shahrokni, Shirin (with Jules Naudet). 2019. “The Class Identity Negotiations of Upwardly Mobile Individuals Amongst Whites and the Racial ‘Other’: a USA-France Comparison”, In Elites and People: Challenges to Democracy, Comparative Social Research Book Series, Vol. 34, pp. 137–158,  Engelstad, F, Gulbrandsen, T, Mangset, M, Teigen, M (Ed) Emerald Publishing Limited,

Other Publications



Persian (Farsi)