Affiliate Projects Archive

Chicago Democracy Project (2012)

Principal Investigator: Michael Dawson, John D. Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College and CSRPC Faculty Director

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 (2006)

Communications Coordinators: Dwight N. Hopkins (USA; UChicago) and Marjorie Lewis (Jamaica)

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. Funded by the Ford Foundation, click here for more information on the 2011 convening.

Learn about current and upcoming faculty-driven conferences and projects here