Chris Levesque joined Kenyon’s Department of Sociology in July 2023. His research studies migration, demography and the far-reaching consequences of U.S. immigration law. Specifically, he focuses on the legal process in newer immigrant destinations. He uses mixed methods to study the intersection between the criminal and immigration law — also referred to as “crimmigration” — examining the impacts of social stratification, detention, and legal access in the U.S. immigration court system. He is also interested in internal migration patterns in the metro and non-metro Midwest.

Prior to joining Kenyon, Chris was an affiliate with the University of Minnesota Law School’s Binger Center for New Americans and a predoctoral trainee in population studies at the Minnesota Population Center. He has also consulted and worked with organizations such as the Advocates for Human Rights and Migration Policy Institute.

Areas of Expertise

Immigration, law and society, demography


2023 — Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities

2020 — Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities

2013 — Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University

Courses Recently Taught

This course examines the law, legal profession and legal institutions from a variety of traditional social-science perspectives. The primary frames of reference are sociological and social psychological. The objective of the course is to expose students to a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives on law and to encourage the examination of law-related phenomena through the literature of multiple disciplines. Topics to be covered include law as a social institution, law as a social-control mechanism, a history of law in the United States, the U.S. criminal justice system, philosophies of law, law and psychology, comparative legal cultures, and law and social change. This survey course is intended to encourage and facilitate a critical study of law in society and serve as a foundation from which to pursue the study of law and legal issues in other curricular offerings. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. This is required for the law and society concentration. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every fall.

“Crimmigration law” refers to the intersection between criminal and immigration law. Assumptions, myths and misinformation about U.S. immigration and immigrants lead to routine and increasingly criminalizing forms of "othering" in political debates, news stories and daily\nconversations. At the same time, U.S. immigration and immigrants have been, are and will continue to be an essential and vibrant part of this country’s experience. \n\nThe aim of this course is to promote an accurate, holistic and empathetic understanding of U.S. immigration and immigrants while also understanding how legal systems punish, detain, and deport immigrants based on their legal status. We begin by discussing introductory terminology and background related to crimmigration law. Afterward, this course is broken down into three main parts: enforcement, detention, and deportation.\n\nFirst, we consider who migrates, how the state functions as an exclusionary gatekeeper, and how incremental changes to immigration law enforcement converge with the broader history of immigrants’ criminalization, surveillance and racialization. Second, we turn to\ndomestic and global practices of immigrant detention, comparing them to practices of criminal incarceration as well as arguments for abolition. Third, we look at the origins and current practices of deportation in the U.S., with specific attention paid to immigration court procedure, substantive\njustice and avenues for reform and resistance. There is no exam in this course; instead, students will write a five-page midterm paper and 10-12-page final paper. This counts toward the course requirement for the Law & Society concentration “examining law as a social institution.” Prerequisite: LGLS 110. Offered spring semester of every year.

This upper-level seminar offers students in the concentration an opportunity to integrate the various topics and approaches to which they were exposed in the law-related courses they have taken. Each year, the senior seminar is designed around a specific substantive theme or topic. The themes as well as the format and approach to the course change from year to year, depending upon the faculty members teaching the course and their interests. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Permission of instructor required. Offered spring semester every year.

This course examines the social conditions that give rise to law, how changing social conditions affect law and how law affects the society we live in. In the first few weeks, we focus on how classical social theorists, the so-called founders of sociology, viewed the law and its relationship to the rapid social change unfolding before their eyes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the following weeks, we explore how social actors such as the environmental, civil rights and free speech movements attempt to use the law, litigation and legal institutions as instruments of social change. Turning this question around, we then look at how legal processes, actors and institutions — criminal trials, lawyers and the courts, to name a few — interact with the media to shape public opinion, protest and collective action. We explore the diverse ways individuals experience and interpret the law, and why this matters for understanding how law operates in the real world. In the final weeks of the semester, we probe how broader cultural shifts in American society are radically redefining the role and scope of our legal system. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course. Offered every other year.

Ever wonder how sociologists gather the information upon which they base their claims? Curious about all those charts and graphs in newspapers and magazines? Thinking about a career in marketing, survey research or program evaluation? This course is designed for students who want to become proficient in doing and understanding quantitative social research using SPSS software. The focus of this class is survey research and design. Students learn the basics of data mining, recoding and analysis while also learning to write and present their research findings. This counts toward the methods requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course and SOCY 271. Sophomore standing. Offered every two years.