Building an Interdisciplinary Science on Racism

February 28, 2020

In conjunction the University of Michigan’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2020 programming, the U-M RacismLab held its annual symposium entitled, “Building and Interdisciplinary Science on Cultural & Structural Racism.”

Directed by Maggie Hicken, and housed within ISR’s Survey Research Center, the RacismLab is a transdisciplinary research collective that brings together doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty to develop innovative theoretical frameworks and empirical approaches to better understand the impact of racism on health and well-being. In addition to regular working group meetings, the lab convenes annual campus-wide events on the conceptualization and measurement of race and racism at ISR and participates in writing retreats.

This year’s symposium was divided into two sessions. The morning session focused on the need to build diverse, interdisciplinary collaborations. Dr. Carolyn Finney opened the morning with a discussion on the myth of objective research and the need for diversity for strong science.

Then, RacismLab members and alumnae presented, in lightning talk format, the ways in which the RacismLab, as a safe and critical space for the study of racism, supported their professional development and career progression.

In the afternoon, Debbie Rivas-Drake, professor of psychology and education at the University of Michigan, led a working roundtable lunch on creating diverse, joyful, and productive research groups.

The afternoon session featured a panel of innovative scholars who integrate critical theory to understand the durability of racism.

image of the panel of scholars attending the University of Michigan RacismLab symposium Pictured here (from left to right): David Cunningham, Danielle Purifoy, Camilla Hawthorne, Hedwig Lee, Lisa Flores, and Vanessa Lovelace.

Highlights from the afternoon panel: 

Vanessa Lynn Lovelace, assistant professor crime & justice studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

David Cunningham, professor of sociology, Washington University in St. Louis

Danielle Purifoy, Carolina Postdoctoral Research Fellow , Department of Geography, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Camilla Hawthorne, assistant professor of sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Lisa Flores, associate professor, communication, University of Colorado, Boulder

The event culminated in a poster presentation and reception.

For more information:

Learn more about the RacismLab

Follow RacismLab on Twitter @RacismLab

Contact: Catherine Allen-West isrcommunications@umich.edu