Black Youth Project
Principal Investigator: Cathy J. Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Professor in Political Science and the College; Deputy Provost for Graduate Education.
Project Manager: Jamila Celestine-Michener, Ph.D. Student, Department of Political Science
This project will examine the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms, and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health, and politics. Arguably more than any other subgroup of Americans, African American youth reflect the challenges of inclusion and empowerment in the post–civil rights period. When one looks at a wide array of some of the most controversial and important issues facing the country, African American young people are often at the center of these debates and policies. Whether the issue is mass incarceration, affirmative action, the increased use of high-stakes school testing, HIV and AIDS, sex education in schools, or welfare reform, most of these initiatives and controversies disproportionately impact young, often vulnerable African Americans. However, in contrast to the centrality of African American youth to the politics and policies of the country, their perspectives and voices generally have been absent from not only public policy debates, but also academic research. This research project will fill that void, placing African American young people at the center of our analysis and action. Click here to go to the BYP website.
Chicago Democracy Project
Principal Investigator: Michael Dawson, John D. Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College
Project Director: Jaime Dominguez, Former Visiting Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and Ph.D. Candidate, University of Illinois-Chicago
The Chicago Democracy Project (CDP) offers a unique picture of the City of Chicago’s political process as it relates to the electoral system, group participation, and public resource allocation outcomes. The CDP is a five component database based on the following: 1) citywide election returns for all of the primary and general elections (including special elections) at the ward and precinct level; 2) public hires stratified by department, occupation, race, and gender; 3) government contract distribution by race; 4) public appointments to boards and commissions stratified by race and gender; 5) mayoral campaign finance contributions. The CDP covers the period 1975-2000 and is being supported by a generous grant from the Politics and Culture Division at the Joyce Foundation.
Upon completion, the CDP will be made available for downloading on the worldwide web site of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. The CDP is significant in that it benefits both the scholarly and non-scholarly community. It will be of use to scholars who seek to understand relationships among a number of social and political variables at the community level. And, it will increase community and political participation, and help reduce the influence of money in political campaigns inasmuch as community activists, potential candidates and insurgent candidates will find it possible to access low-cost, reliable information on communities.
Of particular interest will be the way the CDP can broaden electoral participation in Chicago. As our experience and that of many others attests, it is expensive to collect information about elections on the ward and precinct level, about procurement contracts, public employment and public appointments. Currently only incumbents or their professional consultants have ready access even to parts of this information about their constituents. Yet all candidates, no matter how well or less well financed they are, can make substantial use of such data in their election bids. By collecting and publishing free election data on the Internet, the CDP will lower the costs of obtaining valuable information for aspiring campaigners with modest campaign budgets. This will help reduce the impact that money has upon political campaigns in the Chicago communities covered by the CDP.
In addition, civic organizations and activists concerned with levels of community participation in City governance will also find the CDP useful. They will be able to measure political participation by racial and gender, insofar as electoral turnout and the demographics of elected officials and appointed commission and board positions indicates such participation. Civic organizations and activists will also be able to employ information on City procurement contracts to indicate both the concentration of private financial power in City governance and the distribution of city expenditures among different demographic groups. Click here to go to the CDP website.
International Association of Black Religions & Spiritualities
The International Association of Black Religions and Spiritualities is a global network that links diverse local networks in 14 different countries. Focusing on darker skin communities and countries that are disproportionately impacted by adverse circumstances, the Association shares information with a newsletter, web page, and edited books; sponsors youth and student exchanges; supports women’s advocacy; and strengthens national and regional networks globally. The theme of the Association is Another World Is Possible. The objective of the Association is to draw on all forms of progressive religions and spiritualities of darker skin peoples globally in the struggle for human dignity and social justice. Fifty percent of the Association consists of women. Held in balance are youth, middle age, and elderly representatives as well as academics, community organizers, and religious/spiritual leaders. Delegates come from Dalits in India, Aboriginals in Australia, Afro Cubans, Blacks in the England, Afro Brazilians, Jamaicans, Burakumin in Japan, Fiji, Native Hawaiians, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and black North Americans. Dwight N. Hopkins (USA: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Marjorie Lewis (Jamaica) are the communications coordinators. Funded by the Ford Foundation, the website is: http://home.comcast.net/~pantonioe/Index.html
Mapping the Stacks
Project Director: Jacqueline Goldsby, Associate Professor in English Language & Literature
Based out of the University of Chicago since Fall 2003, Mapping the Stacks (MTS) is led by Professor Jacqueline Goldsby of the University of Chicago's Department of English. Recognizing that the city of Chicago is teeming with archives devoted to mid-20th century African American life but that these institutions and organizations often lack the staff and funding required to keep their collections fully accessible to the public, MTS aims to bridge this gap.
Bringing together faculty and Ph.D. students with field expertise in African American Studies and a deep interest in archival collection development, MTS provides labor power to:
1. Survey & identify African-American primary source materials (books, films, photographs, newspapers, magazines, manuscript archives, recorded oral histories, and other ephemera) housed in Chicago-area institutions and community-based organizations that are in need of processing and cataloguing
2. Process collections using field-approved archival management methods
3. Produce and disseminate finding aids to facilitate public access to these collections via print and web sources
Thus far, MTS is cataloguing collections at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American Literature and History (a branch of the Chicago Public Library); the DuSable Museum of African American History; and the Chicago Defender newspaper. An important collaborator is the University of Chicago Library, whose Special Collections Research Center's archivists provide instructional training to the MTS staff.
Funding from the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, Division of the Humanities, Commonwealth Edison, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports MTS' work. Click here to go to the MTS website.