CDMS 2007-2008 Fellows




Tony Clark
Assistant Professor
American Indian Studies Program

“Save the Chief!”  Making Sense of Perceived Threats to White/Settler-Colonial Privilege"

White privilege manifests in many ways.  Among the newest and least understood is through the Internet, which provides a public stage for assaultive speech.  Thus, in a context of imagining radical modes of multiracial democracy, the purpose of this study is to thematically analyze the content of weblogs, cyber-meeting sites, and newspaper commentary at several critical moments between April 2006, when the NCAA rejected the University of Illinois' second appeal of the mascot ban, and March 2007, when the university discontinued use of Chief Illiniwek, to enhance our understanding of (1) cognitive and affective responses when white/settler-colonial privileges seem threatened and (2) how the Indian sign and the concepts it represents (e.g., dignity and honor or oppression) are used to imagine situational communities under siege (e.g., adoring and similarly-minded fans or anti-oppression activists).  Ultimately, this work looks forward from university-sponsored racial entertainment that uses Indians to a future in which Indians use the university.



Soo Ah Kwon
Assistant Professor
Asian American Studies & Human and Community Development

"Immigrant and Second-Generation Youth Organizing for Democracy"

This project is an ethnography of political activism and identities among a diverse group of immigrant and second-generation Asian and Pacific Islander youth. In contrast to studies of immigrant assimilation, I examine how youth are transforming the nature of democratic participation in a multi-racial society. Youth exhibit a strong sense of racial identities that are also tied to political pan-ethnic identities in different political moments. As active political participants, youth reveal that democracy is a social practice in which members of different positions and backgrounds engage I altering unequal power relations for the common interest of all its members.



Junaid Rana
Assistant Professor
Asian American Studies Program

"Islamophobia, Racism, and Multiracial Organizing in Chicago"

This project examines the multiracial and cross-racial response of Muslims in the post-9/11 era to organize their communities.  Grassroots organizing efforts in Chicago have seen a revitalized relationship between domestic Muslim populations (African Americans and Latinos) and immigrant Muslims (Arab and South Asian Americans) due to the efforts of antiracist organizers and the reconceptualization of the Muslim community in the US.  As an urban ethnography this research examines the place of Chicago’s Muslim population in relation to impact of state and popular racism in everyday life and the effort to organize communities in this context.





Michelle Cruz-Santiago
Psychology (Clinical/Community Program)

"Community funds of Knowledge:  bridging family and school life for Latino children"

This action research project targets underrepresented families such as recent immigrants and others who are struggling with minimal incomes, cultural differences, language barriers, and a sense of social exclusion.  The project identifies and links the knowledge assets held by these families and communities to the school curriculum, providing bilingual education in a socially meaningful context.  An integral part of the program is building collaborative relationships between multiple stakeholders in the school and the community. The proposed research will be directed toward documenting these efforts and collecting data to evaluate the impact of the program and ways it can be improved 



Maurice Samuels
Educational Psychology

"School-Based Reflection (SBR):  Engaging External Accountability Using Critical Reflection "

This action research project focuses on a local school’s efforts to respond to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability requirements using School-Based Reflection (SBR), a school-based approach I have developed. SBR’s theoretical framework is based on my previous research using democratic and culturally responsive theories of evaluation. This project (a) examines the extent to which local democratic and culturally responsive theories of evaluation capacity building can contribute to improving student achievement, (b) describes the gap between what the NCLB policy intended and what is actually happening, and (c0 explores more deeply the role of public education in a multicultural society.



Cristina Stanciu

"The Makings and Unmakings of Americans: Indians and Immigrants in American Literature and Culture, 1880-1924"

This dissertation argues that, despite their vexed and coerced positions in the “making” of Americans, New Immigrants and American Indians shared structurally-connected roles in the drama of Americanization and assimilation at the turn of the twentieth-century.  I reevaluate both legal and literary definitions of “constituting Americans”  and show how the Progressive reforms of “civilizing” the Indian and the alien participated in contests over the meaning of national citizenship, whose unwritten cultural norms were Europe (as the parent culture), English (as the official language), and whiteness (as the color of “true citizenship”).  Foregrounding a genealogy of a combined cultural resistance to coercive regimes of  “making Americans,” my project shows how American Indian and Immigrant students of American democracy and culture carved their own spaces in turn-of-the-twentieth-century American culture.




Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society
1108 W Stoughton, Urbana, IL 61801
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