Dalen Wakeley-Smith writes and teaches about race, ethnicity, and migration in the 20th century.
Wakeley-Smith’s research focuses on the history of American Roma (often problematically called Gypsies) in the United States. His current book project entitled “A Gypsy Capital": American Roma, Immigration Regimes, and Race explores the history of Romani immigration, racialization, and representations in New York City. His work shows the way Americans embraced the “Gypsy” stereotype while policing Romani people and destroying Romani homes and businesses. The history of American Roma in New York highlights the power of discretionary policing, urban “renewal” projects, and popular culture during pivotal moments of immigration, urban containment, and social exclusion. His second project tentatively entitled An Undesirable Class of People: Post War Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Suspect Aliens explores the history of immigration after 1960 and examines the ways in which Eastern European Roma and other minorities navigated different statuses, immigration controls, and racialization in their quest to leave a changing Europe.
Wakeley-Smith has authored articles for the Journal of American Ethnic History and Critical Romani Studies. He is currently working on a chapter for an edited volume, The Romani Atlantic, and helps run a Queens based educational and cultural arts non-profit called Rom Sam Yehk (We Are One). Before coming to Wash U Wakeley-Smith was on a Global American Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. Wakeley-Smith earned his PhD from the University of Michigan in Anthropology and History.