IRRPP provides funding to UIC faculty members who conduct engaged and policy-relevant research on race and ethnicity. Faculty Fellows are awarded course releases. Faculty Scholars win grants that cover research costs. And Policy and Social Engagement Fellows work with Chicagoland partners on a community action project. We invite you to learn more about our funding programs.
This project examines the importance of U.S.-based civil society for promoting a more active stance
of labor enforcement agencies and evaluates the local implementation of the agreements between the
Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and Mexico’s Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (SRE) to promote labor rights standards enforcement across 50 cities in the U.S. We also
study the implementation of local agreements between the Mexican Consulate and local offices of federal
agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as collaborations that
have evolved with state and local agencies. We seek to understand how labor unions and other worker centers
hold U.S. labor standards enforcement agencies accountable by pressuring the Mexican government to play
a more pro-active role in advocating for the rights of its citizens in the United States.
Social psychologists have extensively documented the content of stereotypes about Black people,
including hostile, dangerous, criminal, unintelligent, and poor. These generalized stereotypes
can influence how people think about and judge particular Black individuals. My work has identified
complementary stereotype content focused on Black physical spaces, including dilapidated and
boarded-up houses, dirty and unkempt yards, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and failing schools.
These generalized stereotypes can influence how people think about and judge particular locales
occupied by Black people. Here, I propose four new experiments to further investigate how
space-focused stereotypes may lead people to value and invest in primarily Black locales to
a lesser extent than primarily White locales. One of these experiments will also test a short
intervention that could mitigate this devaluation of and disinvestment in Black space. This
intervention should shift people’s place theories—one’s sense of the extent to which places remain
stable over time or, alternatively, have the potential to change over time. I expect that inducing
people to think of places as malleable (vs. stable) will reduce racial stereotyping, which should
subsequently reduce devaluation of and disinvestment in Black (relative to White) spaces.
Somali refugees in the United States and Canada refer to autism as the ‘Western disease’ because
they claim, it does not exist in Somalia. There is some evidence which suggests that Somali
refugees suffer higher prevalence rates of autism than other population groups. This ‘epidemic’
of autism has caused divisions within the Somali refugee communities of Minneapolis and Toronto.
In Minneapolis, the community is split over whether or not vaccines play a causal role in the
development of autism, and in Toronto, a particular group has begun to subscribe to the theory
that the diet and medical environment in North America (including the use of preservatives,
genetically-modified processing, and antibiotics in both health care and food production) alters
children’s gut biome, leading to the development of autism. This project will use ethnographic
research methods to explore why a delimited population group (Somali refugees) in two distinct
geographical and national locations (Minneapolis, MN and Toronto, Canada), contending with the
same empirical puzzle (high rates of autism), have forged distinct, yet coherent epistemic groups
around a definition of illness, its causal pathway, and possible courses of treatment. Unlike most
analyses of autism, I explore this topic from a global perspective and ask about the relevance of
race, class, and nationality in peoples’ experiences with and explanations of disability.
We know very little about how people search for housing, what options they consider, and what
individual-level and housing-unit level characteristics shape those decisions. And we know even less
about how this housing search process works to undo or to perpetuate the patterns of racial residential
segregation that plague the city of Chicago and many urban centersthroughout the nation. The
purpose of this project is to analyze administrative data from the Oak Park Regional Housing Center
(OPRHC), a local nonprofit that works to encourage renters to move in ways that create integration
rather than perpetuate segregation, to answer both basic and applied social science research questions
about how people choose their housing.
HIV-infected women are four to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to uninfected
women. Despite guidelines aimed at decreasing the remarkable burden of cervical cancer among
HIV-infected women, Papanicolaou (Pap) screening is significantly underutilized. However, factors
associated with inadequate cervical cancer screening utilization among HIV-infected women are not
well-established. Further, there are currently no cervical cancer prevention interventions tailored for
women with HIV/AIDS. Thus, exploring individual and institutional level factors known to adversely
impact health outcomes among HIV-positive populations (e.g., access to healthcare, transportation
services, crisis, HIV/AIDS relates stigma, poor-patient provider communication) is critical to developing
sustainable cervical cancer screening approaches. Hence, the overall goal of the proposed study is to
assess the demographic, structural, behavioral, and psychosocial factors associated with cervical
cancer screening utilization rates among HIV-infected women from the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center
in Chicago, Illinois. This project reflects my commitment to expanding the provision of cervical cancer
preventive services into HIV clinic-based settings through innovative approaches.
The purpose of this fellowship application is to seek support from IRRPP that will allow me to complete
a book manuscript, Legacy Effects: Racial Dynamics and the Perpetuation of Segregation. This book,
co-authored with Kyle Crowder at the University of Washington, seeks to push the theoretical, empirical,
and policy discussions about the causes of racial residential segregation in new directions, attempting
to escape from the theoretical myopathy that characterizes its current state. We begin from the
observation that existing discussions focus simplistically on The Big Three causes of residential
segregation: economic dynamics, discrimination, and preferences. We argue that these three are
neither competing explanations nor are their theoretical underpinnings clearly conceptually distinct.
Given the fundamental role of racial residential segregation as a 'structural linchpin' of racial inequality
in the U.S., understanding its causes-so as to work to undo it-is of primary importance. However, these
theoretically stagnant frameworks, and the empirical evidence that has flowed from them, have resulted
in an incomplete body of research in terms of the policy proscriptions that might help reduce these
persistent patterns. The purpose of our book is to begin to change this conversation in terms of theory,
methods, and policy.
Nonprofit social service organizations remain surprisingly unrepresentative of the clients and
communities they serve. As such, nonprofits are facing increased demands for diversifying their
boards, as the commitment to diversity is believed to begin at the top. At the same time,
nonprofits face increased pressures for performance, from their funding entities as well as the
public. The proposed project combines quantitative and qualitative data to fill a critical gap in the
empirical research related to nonprofit performance by demonstrating the link between board
diversity and organizational effectiveness. This project relies partly on existing data, and
proposes to supplement this data over the fellowship year to form a more complete picture of the
ways that diversity and representation can enhance organizational effectiveness. This project has
important implications for informing the funding community (government agencies and
foundations) about the tangible, measurable value of diversity and representation, which may
lead to more strategic investment of resources in charitable organizations.
This project has two parts: the establishment of a digital archive of women’s participation in the
revolution in Arabic and English to be used by scholars and policy-makers and the publication
of a book. The project is based on a decade-long relationship with the Egyptian women’s
movement; research through social media and news articles that began in January 2011;
six months of ethnographic field research in Egypt in 2012; and grassroots collaboration
with the coalition of 13 Egyptian feminist organizations who have participated in the revolution.
This project is crucial since most policy-makers and human rights advocates have addressed
Egyptian women’s struggles through racialized-Orientalist frameworks, including cultural-religious
or tradition-based analyses or approaches that use abstract legal frameworks and argue for
individual women’s rights under the law. Both approaches are limited because they ignore the
two key grievances of the millions of women who participated in the revolution: 1) poverty and
2) gendered-state violence (such as state-repression, gendered military and police violence).
This project brings these factors to the center of analyses and provides researchers and policy
makers with a broader understanding of the factors impacting Egyptian women’s lives at
this crucial historical moment.
The current segmented configuration and increasingly contingent academic workforce has been
linked to the corporatizing policy influences on higher education. Under these now precarious labor
conditions, contingent women faculty who are also parents or caregivers, often find themselves with
more education, but with less income, more debt, no health care, food insecurity and little access
to the employment based family policies and privileges that many academic feminists and gender
equity advocates have long demanded (e.g. family leave, tenure clock extensions, health benefits,
job security, etc.). This stagnating professional trajectory holds particular gendered, racialized and
classed meaning for highly educated women of color and points to the persistence of inequity for
minority women. This project explores how academic labor policy and “family friendly” policy have
or have not supported the careers of women of color, given their overrepresentation as contingent
faculty. Through the use of extensive qualitative interviews and focus groups, this qualitative research
project will map the economic and professional impact of holding contingent faculty positions with a
particular focus on women of color. In doing so, the overall goal of this project is to contribute to the
emerging literature on academic women’s working and family lives by illuminating the voices of under
represented and under researched strata of academic workers in the neoliberal era.
Domestic work is one of the largest and most unregulated low wage employment sectors in the U.S.
Domestic workers are vulnerable to wage theft, low pay, hazardous work conditions, discrimination
and sexual harassment. It is also an industry with a large concentration of undocumented workers
and immigrants. In Illinois, a number of coalitions including various labor collectives and Pan-Asian
groups are mobilizing support for the passage of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Currently, there
is no systematic data on Filipino domestic workers in the state. They remain a relatively isolated
group, with scant knowledge of their rights. Their participation in the movement to pass the Domestic
Worker Bill of Rights remains unexplored. This collaborative project with AFIRE seeks to address this
problem/absence,and explore the reasons for Filipino domestic workers’ isolation and weak participation
in the wider community of domestic workers in Chicago.
Due to separate conversations between experts ridden with jargon, academic literatures on reproductive
justice can often promote confusion and division among advocates. The Reproductive Justice Virtual
Library seeks to bring various sectors of the reproductive justice movement to a common language
through equal access to research materials. Imagined as a virtual research hub for the reproductive
justice movement, the RJVL is supported by a reproductive justice working group that will meet on the
UIC campus to discuss relevant issues, build research skills and support the work of the library.
Building upon their long history of advocacy and organizing Chicago's youth relative to issues of
sexual and reproductive justice, we will work together to develop their adolescent and sexual
health toolkit as well as create an Illinois reproductive justice toolkit with a youth focus that will
also be digitized and contribute to the RJVL.
Alongside a myriad of social and personal challenges, low-income women in the Arab-American
community in Chicago, and their children, experience a wide-range of health and health care
problems, for which medications are often indicated. Despite this, the Arab-American community
currently lacks any health promotion program, including one that specifically focuses on the
treatment seeking process among this growing, yet often neglected, population of Arab-American
and immigrant women. The goal of this proposed collaborative project is to develop a community-
based, culturally-tailored health communication and promotion program that will empower women
to make informed treatment decisions for both themselves and their children. The primary objective
is to promote safe and effective medication use among low-income, uninsured/underinsured Arab-
American women and their children, in order to attain good health.
In Chicago and the US generally, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is one of the most popular, and
most frequently abused, economic development tools. TIF allows municipalities to designate an
area for redevelopment and capture the expected increase in property taxes to pay for initial
and ongoing expenditures in the area. It is controversial because TIF has the potential to divert
resources away from schools, reinforce neighborhood inequities, and allocate public tax dollars to
corporations and developers who need them less than low-income neighborhoods of color. There
is widespread demand from neighborhood activists in Chicago for a more transparent and responsive
decision-making process for allocating TIF funds, and Participatory Budgeting (PB) holds promise
as a tested method for making this process more democratic. Through PB, community members
directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. We believe that using PB to distribute TIF
funds can further racial equity by empowering politically marginalized residents in Chicago to
participate in and better understand the public spending decisions that affect the quality of their
neighborhoods. To achieve this goal, we and our partners are developing a PB Chicago TIF Tool
Kit that can be used by communities interested in fighting for more community participation
in spending local TIF dollars.