Past CDMS Fellows

CDMS 2005-2006 Fellows



Lisa M. Cacho
Assistant Professor
Latina/Latino Studies and Asian American Studies

Propositioning Inequality: Race, Space, and the Politics of Privatization

Propositioning Inequality: Race, Space, and the Politics of Privatization is an interdisciplinary project that situates and studies the dialogue that does not happen among our differently racialized communities. Focusing on California during the 1990s-early 2000s, Propositioning Inequality analyzes the ways in which economic anxieties were narrated through relational racial discourses of gender and sexual deviance, which encouraged Californians to discipline racially segregated communities (specially youth of color). My project tries to capture what it means to study stories that no one admits they believe, but by which everybody’s lives are structured. It asks where does story-telling fit into analyses of state power, privatization, and public policies? What do we learn from the dialogue that we do not enter and dare not speak?


Lynne M. Dearborn
Assistant Professor
Design, School of Architecture

Daring to Reach for the American Dream: Judging equity in home-buying processes and outcomes for low/moderate-income non-white Americans

From 1990 to today, there has been a push to increase minority and immigrant homeownership in the United States . Throughout U.S. history, ownership of a single-family house on its own plot of land has been an integral part of the nation’s vision of itself as a democratic country. While homeownership has been considered the great equalizer, historically it has been offered in a discriminatory way. The proposed project will investigate this recent push to increase minority homeownership and will examine the physical housing outcomes to understand the degree to which equality has been restored to our society’s democratic foundation.


Katherine E. Ryan
Associate Professor
Educational Psychology

Making Educational Accountability More Democratic

 This proposed project is an action research project focused on a local school district’s efforts to respond to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability requirements- -a policy designed to improve student achievement for all students. The theoretical framework is based on the author’s previous research on democratic theories of evaluation practice. The project aims include (1) describing the gap between what the NCLB policy intended – to improve achievement for all students and what is actually happening, (2) examining the extent to which local school-based democratic accountability can contribute to improving student achievement, and (3) exploring more deeply the role of public education in a multicultural society.


Damion Thomas
Assistant ProfessorAfrican
American Studies and Research Program and Kinesiology

American Politricks: Sport, Civil Rights, and the Cold War

“American Politricks: Sport, Civil Rights, and the Cold War” will examine U.S. State Department attempts to alter international perceptions of United States race relations by sending African-American athletes abroad as cultural ambassadors. Sport provides an ideal site to explore what I label “politricks,” by which I mean the use of popular culture as a manipulative tool of United States foreign policy. Designed to undermine anti-Americanism as a foundation for racial and political identity formation throughout the African Diaspora, these tours were highly contested sites for the interplay of competing representations of the African American experience.


Arlette I. Willis
Curriculum and Instruction

Working toward social justice in a community of practice

 The purpose of this study is to address the need for multicultural, anti-racist, and culturally responsive teaching currently missing in the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) call for ‘high quality’ professional development. The project establishes a community of practice that support teachers and researchers as they work to improve and enhance the educational and academic performance of underserved students in local public high schools. Using critical qualitative techniques, data will include self-interviews, diary/journals, fieldnotes, transcribed video and audio tapes, and written, artistic, and technological artifacts. Data analysis will be iterative and coded manually or with a software program to help identify themes.




Gregory S. Goodale
Speech Communication

Benjamin Rush and the Space of the Young Ladies’ Academy, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the St. Thomas African Episcopal Church, 1787-1794

Benjamin Rush was a ‘founder father’ of America. He was also a defining American who both represented and redefined citizenship during the Early Republic. As a benefactor of Philadelphia’s young ladies’ academy (1787) and two Black churches (1794), Rush was literally involved in constructing the space in which Philadelphians could be segregated, disciplined, and re-formed, a process Rush termed ‘creating republican machines.’ I propose to study the spaces that Benjamin Rush helped to construct, and how these spaces furthered the project of defining “Americans” during the Early Republic.


Karen Phoenix

Conducting School on Our Ways: The YWCA and Americanization at Home and Abroad, 1885-1939

 My dissertation examines “Americanization” programs of the Young Women’s Christian Associations’ (YWCA) “home” and “foreign” departments at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. I argue that because the YWCA was part of international democratic and feminist reform movements, which impacted the American YWCA domestically, and vice versa, YWCA programs were emblematic of the simultaneous internal colonialization of immigrants and the creation of an external “American” imagined community. This will show that geographic boundaries of the United States were in some ways illusionary, as the YWCA “Americanized” women whom reformers thought of as non-Americans within the United States, as well as women in Asia, India, Africa, and South America.


Andrea S. Wilson
Educational Policy Studies

Gettin Out of the Projects: The Impact of Relocation on Adolescents Formerly Residing in the Robert Taylor Homes

 The following case studies bring to light the specific experiences of eight adolescents who’ve relocated from the Robert Taylor Homes to Central Illinois, due to its demolition. I will examine the personal, educational and social effects of forced relocation on the participants. Through the use of focus groups, hours of participant observation, in-depth interviews and the use of photos I hope to capture the experiences of each adolescent. As the remainder of the largest public housing development in the world is demolished, the nation will need to be made aware of the ways in which the former residents were impacted.


Satomi Yamamoto

Intermediaries and Migration: The Role of Religious Not-for-Profit Organizations in Migrant Communities in the Chicago Area

This research is one component of my dissertation project on “Intermediaries and Migrations”. Sociological migration scholars pay attention on labor and financial intermediaries, but neglect an important role undertaken by the ones working in legal, political, religious, and social areas. My research explores how two faith-based organizations, which are National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (NICWJ) and Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues (CICWI), act as intermediaries in many fields and build economic, legal and social infrastructures for migrant workers. In doing so, I will examine how they outreach and interact with migrants, employers, other go-betweens, and the state.


CDMS 2004-2005 Fellows

The sixteen faculty members and advanced graduate students chosen as fellows enjoy a semester free of teaching responsibilities and participate in a monthly fellows seminar around the theme “What Is Multiracial Democratic Research?”  This year’s group represents the continuing interdisciplinary growth of the Center, with fellows representing twelve departments and four colleges.  Their work embodies in varied and rich ways the Center’s emphasis on engaged scholarship treating everyday life, transnational-race-making processes, and transformative possibilities.  Fellows were chosen after particularly intense competition among a large and superb pool of applicants.



James R. Barrett

Americanization from the Bottom, Up”: Irish Americans, The “New Immigrants”, and Social Difference in the United States, 1900-1930

Given the remarkable racial and ethnic diversity of American cities at the turn of the century, how did recent immigrants grasp the meanings of such difference and their implications for social, economic, and political life? I will investigate a wide range of Irish American voices in a variety of venues-city streets, workplaces and unions, schools, political organizations, the Catholic Church, and popular cultural arenas—to understand the role the Irish played in the “Americanization” of later immigrants.  What lessons were taught regarding the significance of race, gender roles and the position of women, religion and nationality, and social class? 


Lydia P. Buki
Educational Psychology

Educational Needs of Medically Underserved Latina Women in Central Illinois

Latinas have a higher incidence rate of cervical cancer and a lower 5-year survival rate for breast cancer than non-Hispanic Whites. This Health disparity is related to institutional and psychosocial barriers that limit Latinas’ access to and use of cancer screening exams. Immigrant, Spanish-speaking Latinas are even more isolated from early detection services and information. The purpose of this study is to survey barriers and facilitative conditions for 130 medically underserved Latina women in central Illinois.  Results and recommendations for equitable, culturally responsive programming will be disseminated to county, state, and federal health officials who are in charge of women’s health programming in the area.


Sundiata K. Cha-Jua
Afro-American Studies and Research Program and History

"Sankofa:" Toward a Theory of Black Racial Oppression and African American History         

Sankofa is an analytical history of the Black experience in the United States from 1619 to 2000. The central problem in Black Historiography is the failure to explain the structure, ideologies, and discourses of racial oppression and the ideologies, strategies and discourses of African American agency. Thus, Sankofa delineates the themes patterns, and trends in the Black experience and the concepts, structures and ideologies of Black racial oppression. This project is divided into three parts. Part one critically explores African American historiography. Part two delineates the Black Racial Formation and Transformation Theory. And Part Three analyzes the African American historical experience through the prism of BRFT.


Wendy K. Tam Cho
Political Science   

The Effects of Social Segregation in an Increasingly Multiethnic, Multicultural America

The United States is growing increasingly multiethnic and multicultural. Nonetheless, much of our understanding about race and race relations remains connected to Black-white paradigms. Here, I propose to test and extend foundational theories on the relationship between racial contexts and racial attitudes by re-examining them in multiethnic settings. Specifically, how do out-group perceptions among Asian Americans, blacks, Latinos, and whites vary with social context? Some previous studies indicate that larger percentages of proximate out-groups generate intergroup conflict while others suggest that such environments promote interracial contact and understanding. I explore the effects of self-selection, and ethnic spatial and social isolation on out-group perceptions within a multiethnic frame, newly geo-coded data, and recent advances in spatial econometrics.


C. L. Cole
Gender and Women's Studies and Kinesiology

Good Sports? The Boundaries of American Democracy       

Good Sports? offers a cultural history of Americanness, citizenship, and democracy as they have been constituted through Post War era, high-profile sporting events. Through theoretically-informed, archival research, I trace America’s inventions of the communist athlete and the black urban athlete. I show how the imagined deviance and criminality of these bodies were used to displace America’s discriminatory policies and practices. In so doing I argue, such figures work to enchant gendered white suburban and exceptional black bodies as ideal locations of pure democratic citizenship. Good Sports? interrogates the mutual constituency of sexuality, race, gender, and American capitalism imagined as healthy democracy.


Denise O. Green
Educational Organization and Leadership

Articulating the Benefits of Racial Diversity to the National Press:  Triumphs, Challenges, and Lessons Learned from the Gratz and Grutter Cases      

In order to discern how higher education leaders may better articulate to the national press the benefits of racial diversity, it is important to examine how the press portrayed the affirmative action debate with respect to higher education. With several news construction theories guiding the present inquiry, this study will seek to understand the patterns of national press coverage for the recent University of Michigan Supreme Court affirmative action cases, Gratz and Grutter. Using content analysis, it will be determined both qualitatively and quantitatively whether coverage was favorable, neutral, or critical of Michigan’s affirmative action defense.


Moon-Kie Jung

"We Are Like Mochi": The Making of Hawaii’s Interracial Working Class (deferred to AY 04-05)           

Abstract:  From the late 1930s to the early 1950s, Hawai’i underwent a dramatic democratization, remaking itself from a conservative oligarchy to arguably the most politically progressive region in the United States.  At the forefront of this democratization was the unexpected coalescence of Hawaii’s working class that had long been racially divided.  The present book project aims to account for the unanticipated historic formation of this interracial working class, focusing on the islands’ three most important industries before statehood: sugar, pineapple, and shipping.  The book also develops an affirmative theory of interracialism with implications for future social-scientific research and for progressive antiracist politics and policies.


William F. Kelleher Jr.

Inequality in Place: Neoliberalism, class and race in Decatur, Illinois      

 Decatur, Illinois had undergone a series of social transformations in the last two decades that has rearranged families, class, racial, and ethnic divisions. Neoliberal ideologies and the economic and policy practices associated them have played central roles in these personal, social, and political upheavals. This research project will investigate the specific institutional practices in the sites of production, workplaces, and reproductions, families and schools, that have fostered these changes and marginalized working class whites, and significant numbers of African American and Latina/o community members for Decatur’s public sphere, particularly its schools.


Martin F. Manalansan IV

 A Gay World Transformed?: Towards a Queer of Color Critique      

This project is an examination of contemporary conditions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer people of color (Native American, African American, Latino/a, Asian American). Utilizing a survey of activists, content analysis of cultural forms (primarily film) and ethnographic interviews in three cities, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, this project aims to provide an empirically grounded and incisive glimpse at cross-racial problems and conditions of various queer communities and institutions. By doing so, this project places race and racial issues back into the center of the discussion of present-day queer politics and cultural productions and by implication, provide the foundation for enabling future coalitions and policy work that is sensitive to and inclusive of all queer people in the United States.


Faranak Miraftab
Urban and Regional Planning

Midwestern Immigrants and Shelter: A Study of Latinos’ Housing Strategies in Illinois

The Midwest has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its immigrant population during the 1990s. The proposed study concerns the housing problem among this emerging immigrant population in several Midwestern small and mid-size towns. Employing a qualitative approach, the study focuses on Latino immigrants in Illinois, and examines the housing options of new immigrants; the strategies by which they try to address their housing problem; and the transnational and gender dimensions of their resource mobilization strategies. The larger conceptual bearing of this study is the notion of active citizenship through mobilization of their social capital and networks to access their basic socio-economic right to shelter.


Yoon K. Pak
Educational Policy Studies

Democratic Citizenship Education for Intercultural Relations in the Public Schools, 1930s-1950s     

This research focuses on the relatively unknown, yet highly educational reform movement from the 1930s to the 1950s called intercultural education aimed at implementing school policies and curriculum toward racial and religious tolerance in the public schools. Specifically, I ask: how did educators in different parts of the United States with different needs and social climates interpret the progressive intercultural agenda in the 1930s to the 1950s? My work advances research in the history of education by investigating how education for tolerance transformed and influenced classroom curricula. Moreover it adds significantly to the study of multicultural education by providing a historical context for intercultural understanding before, during, and after World War II - a time period ripe for research and very relevant given current events.


Christopher M. Span
Educational Policy Studies

Citizen Or Laborer?: The origins and Social purposes of Schooling African Americans in Mississippi, 1862-1875     

This research documents the educational history of African Americans in Mississippi between 1862 and 1875, from the first reported schools for blacks in the state to the end of reconstruction in Mississippi. It details the educational policy and other considerations associated with the rise of schools for African Americans and how black and white Mississippians, and the northerners assisting formerly enslaved African Americans, debated the general purpose of these schools. It addresses the question of whether schools for formerly enslaved African Americans in Mississippi would be established to produce full-fledged citizens, free but subordinate laborers, or some manifestation of both.  




Dana M. Carluccio

Racial Literacy: The Metaphor of Reading in American Scientific and Literary Narratives of Race/Gender       

My project examines the use of reading as a metaphor for racial difference across the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries in America. From passing narratives documenting racially inscrutable bodies to fictional explorations of racial mind-reading, the late-nineteenth century witnessed an intense focus on literacy as a way of managing identity. I plan to show that this focus was crucially shared by both scientific and literary narratives, and that it helped both to shape racial distinctions and to submerge (and preserve) racial distinctions in accounts of gender difference. My contention is that the continued production of racial difference, as well as the relation of modern science to identity and class politics, depends on this metaphor.

Shanshan Lan

Beyond Black and White: The Making of Chinese American Multiculturalism in Chicago           

My dissertation research explores the complexities of interracial dynamics in an emerging multiethnic working class immigrant neighborhood in Chicago. My focus is on community-based efforts to deal with tensions among youth from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, foremost among Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans, and Italian Americans. Based on my preliminary field work in Chicago with the Chinese American Service League (CASL), the largest non-profit social service agency in the Midwest serving Chinese Americans, my project examines how community actors and institutions shape the radicalized attitudes and actions of immigrant Chinese youth. By examining diverse community interventions directed at inter-racial/ethnic tension among youth, I will explore how interethnic relations are mediated by different cultural agents and how such cultural mediations are themselves gendered and classed.


Keguro Macharia

Harlem’s Travelin’ Queers: Cosmopolitanism in the Harlem Renaissance        

Adopting cosmopolitanism and queerness as lived practices and critical vantage points, Harlem Renaissance writers tried to re-define American notions of citizenship and democracy. Writing explicitly on same-sex relationships, inter-racial liaisons, tropes of miscegenation and passing, and sexual and racial violence, these writers explicitly tied private intimate relationships to public political citizenship. At the same time, their insistence on the lived experiences of blackness provides salutary warnings to contemporary theorizations of cosmopolitanism and queerness that privilege inclusiveness, ushering in a new regime of universalism supposedly attentive to difference. Taking the Harlem Renaissance as a point of departure, this project examines the potential and limits of cosmopolitanism and queerness as critical tools through which to re-shape citizenship and democracy. 

Brinda Jegatheesan
Special Education 

Ways of Being in Home, Community and School: Language Socialization of Children with Autism in Multilingual South Asian Immigrant Families

The study will examine the influence of broad socio-cultural factors on caregiver-child interactions and language development in young children with autism from multilingual South Asian Islamic immigrant families. The study will explore the children’s socialization experiences in the different settings that they are part of on a regular basis. It will also describe their communicative environment and parent’s beliefs, goals, and expectations on how to communicate with their child. The data will be collected from home, community and school observations, video-recordings of caregiver-child interactions, field-notes, and interviews with caregivers and teachers.      The major applications of this work are in special education, however, the research itself is multidisciplinary - adapting ideas and methods used in the field of language socialization to develop a contextualized understanding of caregiver-child verbal interactions in diverse families who have children with autism. Findings from this study will lay the foundation in the area of language development programs for children with communication disabilities that are based on the family’s cultural backgrounds and care-giving styles. In addition, because of the increase in the outbreak of children being diagnosed with autism, the insights generated by the study will be significant in our quest for a culturally and linguistically sensitive “education for all.”


CDMS 2003-2004 Fellows



Mark S. Aber

Ethnography of Community Based Efforts to Change School Climate in Champaign, Illinois

The proposed project seeks to further develop and conduct an ethnographic, collaborative, action research project focused on a community based effort to change the social climate of Champaign’s public schools.  The project is grounded in the authors’ prior research on school climate and long standing relationships with members of the Coalition for Action on Race Equity and Excellence in Education (CARE-3).  Aims include (1) describing the processes by which community voice and expertise penetrate barriers and influence school district decision making and (2) describing how community participation in district decision making contributes to stakeholders’ understandings of educational inequities across race.


Merle L. Bowen
Political Science

Land Reform and Democracy: A Comparison of Brazil, Mozambique and the United States

My project examines the similarities and differences in land security and retention in Brazil, Mozambique, and the southern United States.  It focuses on the intersection between land reform, the state and local black communities.  While it is often said that Brazilians, Mozambicans, and Americans live under racial democracies, meaning that all races are equally valued, rural black smallholders, have systematically been deprived of equal access to land, infrastructure, agricultural markets, and capital markets.  In short, Brazil, Mozambique and the United States are far from achieving democratically defensible land reform.  As a fellow, I intend to write a comparative article on Brazil, Mozambique and the United States that situates land struggles and violence in specific historical contexts, taking account of the way multiple interests and categories of people come into play, and impinge on one another, so people seek to acquire, defend, and exercise claims on land.  Additionally I plan to write a background chapter for a book manuscript that addresses the legal aspect of land reform.


Stacy A. Harwood
Urban and Regional Planning

Is Local Planning Inclusive? Diversity, the Regulation of Space and the Challenge of Pluralism

 Immigration remains one of the most volatile issues in U.S. cities, particularly for jurisdictions in the Sunbelt but also increasingly in municipalities across the Midwest.  The surge in local action around land-use is a key policy issue in urban planning since such local legislation tends to be politically charged, and because it directly influences the integration of immigrants into a local community-socially, politically and economically.  The proposed project seeks to address the lack of knowledge about local level “immigrant policy” and develop a framework to evaluate how land-use regulations support visions of exclusion, assimilation and/or pluralism through a comparative case study method for several municipalities experiencing rapid population change.


Moon-Kie Jung

"We Are Like Mochi": The Making of Hawaii’s Interracial Working Class (deferred to AY 04-05)

From the late 1930s to the early 1950s, Hawai’i underwent a dramatic democratization, remaking itself from a conservative oligarchy to arguably the most politically progressive region in the United States.  At the forefront of this democratization was the unexpected coalescence of Hawaii’s working class that had long been racially divided.  The present book project aims to account for the unanticipated historic formation of this interracial working class, focusing on the islands’ three most important industries before statehood: sugar, pineapple, and shipping.  The book also develops an affirmative theory of interracialism with implications for future social-scientific research and for progressive antiracist politics and policies.


David J. O’Brien
Art and Design

Two Exhibitions: Carrie Mae Weems and the East in the West

I am applying to organize and write catalogue essays for two art exhibitions, both of which promote the central aims of the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society. The first displays the work of seven major contemporary artists who come from the Middle East or North Africa, but have made their careers in Europe or North America.  The second displays the work of Carrie Mae Weems and a group of loosely affiliated artists called Social Studies Projects.  This exhibition takes up the subject of the Supreme Court’s decision on Brown vs. the Board of Education.


Christian E. Sandvig
Speech Communication

"The Internet Re-Born:" Wireless Networks and the Prospects for Transformative Community Development

Democracy requires communication.  Indeed, full participation as a citizen increasingly requires advanced communication technologies like the Internet.  But the diffusion of the Internet is very selective: a “racial divide” exists where some racial and ethnic groups are disproportionately left without Internet skill or infrastructure.  Activists have proposed that a solution is “Wi-Fi,” an important new wireless Internet technology.  In the last year, activists across the world have formed free Wi-Fi co-ops, often, often specifically to help disadvantaged communities.  Imminent public policy will analyze these public policy debates and conduct an ethnographic study of Wi-Fi co-ops that aim to serve disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups.  In this, it will address a pressing public issue with research across multiple communities of color, and offer a constructive assessment of the prospects for Wi-Fi’s utility for promoting democracy in a multiracial society.


Fanon C. Wilkins
History and Afro-American Studies and Research Program

Freedom in the Air:  Black Radicals, Africa, and the Global Search for Black Power

Freedom In The Air focuses on a major, yet neglected, dimension of the black freedom movement of the 1960s and 70s, namely the history of solidarity with liberation movements, peoples and states on the African continent and elsewhere in the African diaspora.  As a pivotal force that shaped the U.S. New Left, black radicals in the United States evolved, I argue, and internationalist coalition politics that embraced movements seeking to define and achieve black political power in Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Canada.  The solidarity activity that grew out of the struggle to obtain Black Power globally cohered around material and political support for African liberation movements in the white settler-states of southern African and the Portuguese colonies.


Assata Zerai
Sociology and Afro-American Studies and Research Program

Grandparenting Cocaine-Exposed Children: Experiences with Secondary Stigma in Healthcare Settings

This project examines custodial grandparents’ challenges to seeking health care for their grandchildren.  It explores whether secondary stigma, experienced by children who have lost their parents to drug-related morbidity or mortality, limits their access to health care.  An exploratory design is proposed to identify factors affecting drug phobia on the part of health care workers and in the U.S. health policy, as well as other deterrents to health seeking nationally and in target communities of three major cities:  Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.  This project will conversely investigate health activism of grandparents as they seek to decrease the impact of social stigma and improve the utilization and quality of health care services.



Andrea S. Brandon
Community Health and College of Medicine

Drug Policy and Social Inequity: Assessing the Impacts of Treatment-based Drug Control Policy Alternatives

It has been suggested that certain drug policies in America are contributing to our “drug problems” rather than ameliorating them.  Recognizing that drug use will never be entirely eliminated, Americans are searching for approaches to drug policy consistent with our valuing of personal freedom that address the racial and social inequities of our current system.  Several alternative drug control policies, including diversion programs, drug courts and the removal of criminal penalties for possession have evolved over the 1990s, but their adoption has been slow due to the number of unknowns associated with even these modest steps toward the decriminalization of drug use.  Using multiple methods based on a dialectical approach, this research seeks to determine the ways in which treatment-based alternatives to incarceration are affecting the health, safety and welfare of offenders, their families, and their communities.  This research will focus on determining the influence these new policies have on the minority communities upon which the burden of traditional policy primarily falls.


Adrian Cruz

Ethnic Picket Lines: Chicanos, Filipinos and the Politics of Identity in the United Farm Workers of America

I will analyze the interaction between the Chicanos and Filipinos in the United Farm Workers of American (UFW).  I argue that the ideology of cultural nationalism in the Chicano movement empowered Chicano workers but inhibited the cause of Filipino workers.  Historically, the UFW is identified as a component of the Chicano movement.  During the 1960s and 1970s the movement fueled the construction of Chicano identity in the UFW.  Simultaneously, Filipinos were alienated from the union as they were unable to identify Chicanos.  Therefore, the structure of cultural nationalism contributed to the second-class status Filipinos occupied in the UFW and in the historical record.


Suk Ja K. Engles
Art and Design

After Whiteness: Asian American Women and the American Visual Arts Sphere.”

The various art works that will comprise my project examine pressures faced by Asian American women who attempt to circulate their work and their own artistic personae within the contemporary visual arts sphere.  Referencing a multidisciplinary range of recent theoretical inquiry and deploying an array of signifying strategies, these works will shed light on the exclusions brought about by gendered and racialized hierarchies in the realms of artistic reception.  A central object of analysis will be the heightened aesthetic and intellectual legitimacy accorded cultural production by Europeans and European Americans, particularly men, and the accompanying illegitimacy accorded work by women and racial minorities.  This project will also examine the more widespread effects of racial hegemony on individual minority identity formation, especially that of Asian American women.


Arisve Esquivel
Educational Policy Studies

"Don’t let that sort of thing happen here”: Latina/o Students and Community Activists in Chicago

The aim of my dissertation project is to document and historicize Lationas/os’ struggle for equal education in the Midwest, specifically within the state of Illinois.  I will use archival sources and interviews to historicize and document how Latina/o students, the Latina/o community, and administrators (re)articulated education and citizenship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in the early 1970s.  Thus, be examining this intersection of voices and perspectives we can begin to see who wields power and whose voices get privileged within a public higher educational institution.


Sieglinde L. De Sanchez
Educational Policy Studies

Red Lanterns on the Levee: Chinese Education and Multiethnic Exchanges in the Mississippi Delta, 1910-1940

My dissertation will focus on how the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta refused to accept school segregation, discrimination, and exclusion through their community efforts to build three separate Chinese schools from 1910 – 1940.  The two Supreme Court cases I examine, Lum v. Rice (1927) and Lun v. Bond (1929) also underscores the predilection of academia to view issues of race in binary terms of black and white.  I contend that Chinese Americans, like other American ethnic and racial groups, have long been concerned about educational issues, and have pursued a variety of strategies to seek educational opportunities for their children.  Their struggles sheds light on a complex network of social relations in terms of issues of race, nationality, immigrant status, and citizenship in the state of Mississippi during the early twentieth century.  A central theme of my research is the social and cultural intersections between the Mississippi Chinese and the Jewish, Italian, and Mexican minority groups in the Delta.  As such, my project speaks to how broader localized processes of race, ethnicity, and discrimination operated in the educational and judicial spheres.  My research primarily contributes to the educational historiography of Chinese Americans in the Deep South, however, it also is part of the larger legacy of nineteenth and twentieth century immigrant experiences in the South.


Rebecca M. Schreiber

Education for Empire: Manual Labor, Civilization, and the Family in Nineteenth Century American Missionary Education

My dissertation traces the relationship between manual labor, the nuclear family, and civilization as they were negotiated by missionaries, professional educators, and indigenous peoples in Hawaii, Indian Territory, and the United States.  I view missionary activity as an aspect of colonization that influenced both the “home” country and the mission field.  Educators in foreign countries devised educational techniques and philosophies that domestic government officials later adopted as ways to address racial, class, and gender divisions in the nineteenth century American society.


Shawyn O. Williams
Curriculum and Instruction

“Becoming Literate”

The Home and School Literacy Experiences of Three African American Children

Decades of research and federal policy has focused upon providing early intervention to the children of “disadvantaged” or “at-risk” populations.  However, an examination of the very terms used to label children as one monolithic mass of “at-risk” underachievers affords us a glimpse into the simplistic, racist, and classist ideologies that underlie much of the literacy research, policy and practice for low income children of color.  This study challenges the validity and utility of these widespread deficit ideologies by following the literacy development of three high performing “at-risk” African American girls as they proceed from preschool to the end of first grade.  Throughout this qualitative study, I specifically focus upon the issues that emerge as significantly impacting their literacy learning.





Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society
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