Parker is a scholar of racial and ethnic politics, social movements, public opinion, and political behavior. Parker is the author of books and articles on social change, patriotism, and right-wing movements. Parker has published in the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and International Security, among other journals. He has received several honors for his research and writing, including the Ralph Bunche Award for the best book on ethnic and cultural pluralism (from the American Political Science Association). Parker is also a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Scholar (2005-2007). He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, and served in the military from 1982-1992.