May 10, 2017 | Director of the Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture

To: Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture
From: Melissa Gilliam, Vice Provost

I write to announce the appointment of Professor Cathy Cohen as the interim director of the Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture (CSRPC). Prof. Cohen, a former director of the CSRPC, is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College. She is the author of two books: Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press 2010) and The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press 1999), and co-editor with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU, 1997). She is also founder of the Black Youth Project and more recently the GenForward Survey. The GenForward Survey is the only bimonthly national representative survey of Millennials 18-34 with oversamples of young adults of color. Both projects work to examine and amplify the voices, political attitudes and actions of young people, especially young people of color.

Cathy will serve as interim director for one term beginning July 1, 2017. During this time, we will launch a national search to identify the next director of CSRPC.

Cathy will take over for Director Michael Dawson, who was CSRPC’s founding director more than 20 years ago and whose most recent term began in 2011. Michael, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Politics and the College, will return full-time to teaching and research. During his most recent tenure as director, he has published two books: Blacks In and Out of the Left: Past, Present, and Future (Harvard University Press, 2013), and Not in Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He also has overseen notable achievements including participating in the renovation of the Center, helping to create a modern communal space and smart classrooms that, as a result, have seen a remarkable increase in academic and programmatic activity. 

Michael also launched the Race and Capitalism project, which engages with scholars across the nation and internationally via online publications, a (biweekly) podcast, and quarterly convenings. This multi-institution collaboration seeks to reinvigorate, strengthen and deepen scholarship on how processes of racialization within the U.S. shaped capitalist society and economy and how capitalism has simultaneously shaped processes of racialization.

Please join me in thanking Michael and Cathy for their leadership and citizenship.