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Study of Race in America

Scholars examine race, inequality and culture in a 21st-century landscape

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May 4, 2011 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Four Northwestern University scholars authored or co-authored three essays in “Race, Inequality, and Culture.” In the new issue of Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 22 prominent social scientists examine race in America today, weighing in on topics ranging from the future of African American studies to intra-minority group relations in the 21st century.

Has the mission of African American studies changed? How is the old racial order being transformed? How will racial minorities react to the predicted demographic shifts of living in a majority-minority country?  
  • In ”Controversial Blackness: The Historical Development and Future Trajectory of African American Studies” by Martha Biondi, associate professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University, the author examines where the field is headed. “Arguably the most exciting development for African American studies in the twenty-first century is the expansion of doctoral programs. The opportunity to train young scholars can only add to the growth, rigor and institutional stature of the field.”

  • In “Destabilizing the American Racial Order” by Jennifer L. Hochschild of Harvard University, Vela M. Weaver of the University of Virginia and Traci Burch, assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University, the authors seek to sort out, post election of President Barack Obama, “what is changing in the American racial order, what persists or is becoming even more entrenched, and what is likely to affect the balance between change and continuity.”

  • In “Intra-minority Intergroup Relations in the Twenty-First Century” by Jennifer A. Richeson, the Weinberg College Board of Visitors Research and Teaching Professor in the department of psychology and faculty fellow, Institute for Policy Research, and her co-author Maureen A. Craig, a third-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at Northwestern University, the authors examine how members of different racial minority groups may evaluate one another in a majority-minority nation. “A separate line of research and theory in social psychology suggests that, rather than adopting a common ingroup identity, members of distinct racial minority groups may react to the predicted demographic changes quite differently: namely as a social identity threat.”

“With the presidency of Barack Obama and the subsequent national conversation about a new, post-racial America, it is the right time to examine both real and perceived changes in the racial divide since the 1960s,” said Leslie Berlowitz, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

To order a copy of these volumes or to subscribe to Daedalus visit: http://www.amacad.org/publications/daedalus.aspx.