Recent Faculty Publications on Race & Ethnicity

Race, Nation, and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania

Ronald Aminzade

Race, Nation, and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Nationalism has generated violence, bloodshed, and genocide, as well as patriotic sentiments that encourage people to help fellow citizens and place public responsibilities above personal interests. This study explores the contradictory character of African nationalism as it unfolded over decades of Tanzanian history in conflicts over public policies concerning the rights of citizens, foreigners, and the nation's Asian racial minority. These policy debates reflected a history of racial oppression and foreign domination and were shaped by a quest for economic development, racial justice, and national self-reliance.

At This Defining Moment: Barack Obama’s Presidential Candidacy and the New Politics of Race

Enid Logan

"At This Defining Moment": Barack Obama’s Presidential Candidacy and the New Politics of Race (NYU Press, 2011)

In January 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. In the weeks and months following the election, as in those that pre-ceded it, countless social observers from across the ideological spectrum commented upon the cultural, social and political significance of “the Obama phenomenon.” In "At this Defining Moment", Enid Logan provides a nuanced analysis framed by innovative theoretical insights to explore how Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy both reflected and shaped the dynamics of race in the contemporary United States.

Migration, Incorporation, and Change in an Interconnected World

Syed Ali and Douglas Hartmann

Migration, Incorporation, and Change in an Interconnected World (Routledge, 2015)

Written in engaging and approachable prose, Migration, Incorporation, and Change in an Interconnected World covers the bulk of material a student needs to get a good sense of the empirical and theoretical trends in the field of migration studies, while being short enough that professors can easily build their courses around it without hesitating to assign additional readings. Taking a unique approach, Ali and Hartmann focus on what they consider the important topics and the potential route the field is going to take, and incorporate a conceptual lens that makes this much more than a simple relaying of facts.

Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders:Homeless in San Francisco

Teresa Gowan

Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders:Homeless in San Francisco (University of Minnesota, 2010)

When homelessness reemerged in American cities during the 1980s at levels not seen since the Great Depression, it initially provoked shock and outrage. Within a few years, however, what had been perceived as a national crisis came to be seen as a nuisance, with early sympathies for the plight of the homeless giving way to compassion fatigue and then condemnation. Debates around the problem of homelessness—often set in terms of sin, sickness, and the failure of the social system—have come to profoundly shape how home-less people survive and make sense of their plights. In Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, Teresa Gowan vividly depicts the lives of homeless men in San Francisco and analyzes the influence of the homelessness industry on the streets, in the shelters, and on public policy.

Color Lines and Racial Angles

Edited by Douglas Hartmann and Christopher Uggen

Color Lines and Racial Angles (Norton, 2014)

The third volume in The Society Pages series tackles race, ethnicity, and diversity in contemporary American society. As with our previous volumes, the chapters are organized into three main sections. “Core Contributions” exemplifies how sociologists and other social scientists think about race-related groups and topics—in this case the demographics of race, the construction of group identities, and the social psychology of prejudice and racism. Chapters in the “Cultural Contexts” section engage race and diversity in and through cultural realms—ranging from mass media and sports to the environment—in which powerful racial dimensions are sometimes overlooked. Finally, the “Critical Takes” chapters provide sociological commentary, perspective, and reflections on the problematic structure and future of race relations in the United States. 

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Cawo M. Abdi

Elusive Jannah:The Somali Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity (Univ of Minnesota, 2015)

Elusive Jannah, a remarkable portrait of the very different experiences of Somali migrants in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, and the United States. Somali’s in the UAE, relatively closed Muslim nation, are a minority within a large South Asian population of labor migrants. In South Africa, they are part of a highly racialized and segregated postapartheid society. In the United States, they find themselves in a welfare state, with its own racial, socioeconomic and political tensions. Cawo M. Abdi’s nuanced analysis demonstrates that full understanding of successful migration and integration must go beyond legal, economic, and physical security to encompass a sense of religious, cultural, and social belonging. Her timely book underscores the sociopolitical forces shaping the Somali diaspora.

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Joyce Bell

The Black Power Movement and American Social Work (Columbia University Press, 2014)

The Black Power movement has often been portrayed in history and popular culture as the quintessential “bad boy” of modern black movement-making in America. Yet this impression misses the full extent of Black Power’s contributions to U.S. society, especially in regard to black professionals in social work. Relying on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, Joyce M. Bell follows two groups of black social workers in the 1960s and 1970s as they mobilized Black Power ideas, strategies, and tactics to change their national professional associations. Comparing black dissenters within the National Federation of Settlements (NFS), who fought for concessions from within their organization, and those within the National Conference on Social Welfare (NCSW), who ultimately adopted a separatist strategy, she shows how the Black Power influence was central to the creation and rise of black professional associations. She also provides a nuanced approach to studying race-based movements and offers a framework for understanding the role of social movements in shaping the non-state organizations of civil society.