College of Arts and Science - where great minds meet

Kara Somerville

Kara Somerville

B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Tenured

Office: Arts 1103
Phone: 306-966-7437

Kara Somerville is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and an Associate Member in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.  Dr. Somerville researches in the areas of migration, transnationalism, family, race/ethnicity and the new second generation. Recently, her research has explored the transnational practices of Indo-Canadian migrants in Canada and the experiences and opinions of their non-migrant families in India. She engaged in interviews in Canada and India to delineate the structure of transnational family networks. She found that relationships maintained across countries of origin and settlement help broaden social networks, facilitate marriages, reproduce family, meet daily care needs, and create a sense of self within the context of migration.  She is currently the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Standard Research Grant Project ($44,853) on "Masala and maple syrup: transnational family dynamics among Indo-Canadians".  Dr. Somerville’s ongoing research projects keep her involved in international research, specifically in India, which complement the Department of Sociology’s initiatives to foster global relationships.

Teaching & Supervision

Soc 112 - Foundations in Sociology: Social Construction of Everyday Life

Soc 203 - Race and Ethnic Relations in Canada

Soc 233 - Introduction to Sociological Theory

Soc 412/812 -  Advanced Seminar in Ethnic Relations



  Research Grants and Awards


President’s SSHRC Grant, 2014, University of Saskatchewan. The International Student Experience: Tribulations and Recommendations. Kara Somerville, Principal Investigator ($7,000).

SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2011, Government of Canada. "Masala and Maple Syrup: Transnational Family Dynamics among Indo-Canadians" Principal Investogator. ($44,853).

India Studies Faculty Research Fellowship, 2011, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, Government of India. "Transnational Family Relationships among Indian Families in Canada and their Relatives in India". Principal Investigator. (316,350 INR)


Tri-Council Bridge Funding, 2010, Office of the Vice-President of Research, University of Saskatchewan “Masala and Maple Syrup” ($10,000).


Proposal Development Assistance Program, 2010-11, Office of the Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan ($1,000).


President’s SSHRC Grant, 2008, Research Innovations, University of Saskatchewan.

“Immigrant Youth in Canada: understanding family dynamics”. Co-Principal Investigator with Scott Walsworth, University of Saskatchewan. ($5,000). 


University of Saskatchewan Start-Up Research Funds, 2007, College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan ($12,000).


Capital Equipment Start-Up Fund, 2007, Office of the Vice-Provost, University of Saskatchewan ($5,000)


India Studies Research Fellowship, 2006, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, Government of India.

"Transnational Social Reproduction and Immigrant  Incorporation: First and Second Generation South Indians in Canada". Principal Investigator ($5,000).  Declined.



   Refereed Journal Articles

Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth. 2015 "Information Sources and Knowledge Transfer to Future Migrants: A study of university students in India" Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 24(1): 28-50.


Somerville, Kara. 2013 “Transnational Care-giving Practices among Indo-Canadian Women Migrants: Creating and Maintaining Families through Cooking and Healthcare” Transnational Social Policy: A Social Work Journal, special edition on “Transnational Social Policy: Families and Care”. Luann Good Gingrich and Stefan KÅ‘ngeter (eds.). 3(2/13): 211-227.

Somerville, Kara. 2011. “Strategic Migrant Network Building and Information Sharing: Understanding ‘migrant pioneers’ in Canada,” International Migration. Vol. 53(4): 135-154

Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth. 2010. “Admission and Employment Criteria Discrepancies: Experiences of Skilled Immigrants in Toronto,” Journal of International Migration and Integration. 11(3): 341-352.  August. Abstract available at:

Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth. 2009. "Vulnerabilities of Highly-Skilled Immigrants in Canada and the United States", American Review of Canadian Studies, 39(2): 147-161. Abstract available at:

Somerville, Kara. 2009. “Marriage and Childbirth as Transnational Triggers: Homeland Attachments of Second-Generation Indo-Canadians,” The Anthropologist: International Journal of Contemporary Studies, Special Issue on Indian Diaspora: Challenges in the 21st Century, 4: 43-53. Anand Singh (ed.). 

Somerville, Kara. 2008. “Transnational Belonging among Second Generation Youth: Identity in a Globalized World,” Journal of Social Sciences, Special Issue on Youth and Migration, 10: 23-33.  Anand Singh (ed.).

Reitz, Jeffrey G. and Kara Somerville. 2004. “Institutional Change and Emerging Cohorts of the ‘New’ Immigrant Second Generation: Implications for the Integration of Racial Minorities in Canada,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, 5(4): 385-415.  Abstract available at:

Refereed Book Chapters

Somerville, Kara. 2014. “Making and Sustaining Transnational Families” Chapter 21 in Family Patterns, Gender Relations, Bonnie Fox (ed.). Oxford University Press. Pp. 399-411.

Somerville, Kara. Forthcoming. “‘Am I Indian or am I Canadian?’: Identity Struggles of Second Generation Indian Youth in Toronto, Canada” (27 pp) in Indian Diaspora and Identity Crisis Among Young Indians: A Global Perspective. Vasintha Veeran and Vinod Chandra (eds.). Emerald Group Publishers Ltd.

Somerville, Kara. 2009 “Facilitated Transnational Marriages among Indo-Canadian Youth: the role of social networks in mate selection” (pp. 118-138) in Growing up in a Globalized World: An International Reader. Vinod Chandra (ed.).  MacMillan Publishers India Ltd., New Delhi.   ISBN: 9780230639782.

Somerville, Kara. 2007. “Life Cycle Events and the Creation of Transnational Ties among Second Generation South Indians,” chapter 20 in Sociology in Canada: A Canadian Sociological Association Reader. Tepperman, Lorne and Harley Dickinson (eds.) Oxford University Press Canada.

Non-Refereed Reports


An After School Program Needs Assessment Report,” Report prepared for Rick Telfer Ward 15 TSBD Trustee, June, 2006.  Written in collaboration with Scott Walsworth and Linda Quirke.


“Evaluation of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario LAO Project,” Report prepared for Legal Aid Ontario, May 5, 2006.  Written in collaboration with Ted Harvey, Marian Ficycz, Muriah Poole, Isabelle Jeanson, Sangita Manandhar, and Amesika Baëta.


“Internal Review of Metropolis Program,” Report prepared for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, April 30, 2006.  Written in collaboration with Ted Harvey, David Judge, Marian Ficycz., Cathia Badière, Audrey Gabrini, Amesika Baëta and Stefanie Stiles.

Working Papers

Somerville, Kara "The Migratory Journey of the Second Generation"

Somerville, Kara "Keeping up appearances within the ethnic community: a disconnect between first and second generation South Asians"

Conference Papers

Somerville, Kara “Future Immigrants and Knowledge Transfer: a study of university students in India” Canadian Sociological Association, University of Victora, Victoria, BC, June 7, 2013


Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth “The Roads are Paved with Gold: Expectations of Future Migrants from India” International Social Science Conference. Nevada, USA., February 21-23, 2013.


Somerville, Kara Making Family: Transnational Caring as Gendered Work” Transnational Social Policy workshop.  York University, Toronto, Ontario, Upcoming: October 11-12, 2012.


Somerville, Kara “Transnational Care-giving Practices among Indo-Canadian Women Migrants: Creating and Maintaining Families through Feeding and Healthcare” Canadian Sociological Association, Wilfred Laurier University and University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. May 26-June 2, 2012.


Somerville, Kara “Building Identities through Transnational Ties: Understanding processes of self-expression among second-generation Indo-Canadians.” Invited Presentation at the Focus India Roundtable.  University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, May 26, 2008.


Somerville, Kara “Transnational Lives of Indo-Canadian Youth: experiences in a globalized world.”.  International Sociology Association Conference, VIIIth International Conference on Asian Youth and Childhoods. Lucknow, India, November 22-24, 2007.


Somerville, Kara “Transnationalism and the Quotidian Healthcare Practices of Migrant Women.” ISA-RC06 Health in Families, Healthy Families: Gendered Explorations Conference.  University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, May 8-11, 2007. 


Somerville, Kara “Facilitated Marriages and Spatially Dispersed Families.”  Groves Conference on Marriage and Family. Detroit Michigan, May 30 - June3, 2007. 


Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth “Who’s Watching the Kids?  Trends in Labour Market Participation of Parents with School Aged Children”.  Canadian Industrial Relations Association Annual Meeting. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, June, 2007.


Somerville, Kara and Scott Walsworth “Don’t Tell Mom I’m Driving a Cab: Migrant Narratives and Miscommunication Flows of Highly Skilled Immigrants in Canada.”. Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) Annual Meeting. York University, Toronto, Ontario. June 2-4, 2006.


Somerville, Kara “Second-Generation Migrants Building Transnational Lives: Life Cycle Events that Prompt Cross-Border Ties.”  Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) Diversity in Migration Conference. York University, Toronto, Ontario, April 27-28, 2006.


Somerville, Kara The Significance of Transnational Relations: Identity Expression and Ties to a Country of Origin.” 8th Colloquium of the Centre D’études Ethniques des Universités Montréalaises.  Montreal, Quebec, February 22-23, 2006.


Somerville, Kara “The Process of Identity Formation within a Transnational Social Field: An Examination of Second Generation South Indians.”  Presented at the Centre for Excellence in Research of Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) Graduate Symposium entitled: Dislocation, Relocation and Place-Making by Immigrants and Refugees in North America.  York University, Toronto, Ontario, November 10-11, 2005.


Somerville, Kara “Intergenerational Relations Across National Borders: An Exploration of First and Second Generation Indo-Canadians”. Presented at the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting.  University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, May 31 – June 3 2005.


Jeffrey G. Reitz and Somerville, Kara “The New Immigrant Second Generation and Native-Born Racial Minorities in Canada: Generational Succession and Institutional Change.”.  Workshop on the Immigrant Second Generation in North America and Europe. Bellagio Conference Centre, Bellagio, Italy. June 18-23, 2003.


Somerville, Kara “Disappointing Discourse: Analysis of Print Media Coverage of National Disappointment.” 19th Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference. McMaster University. Hamilton, Ontario, May 2002.


Somerville, Kara “Adolescent Activists: Analyzing Media Coverage of a Social Protest Involving Youth.” Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association Annual Meeting. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, June 2002.