Faculty Fellows Heading link
IRRPP provides funding to UIC faculty members who conduct engaged and policy-relevant research on race and ethnicity. Faculty Fellows are awarded course releases or a grant that covers research costs. Policy and Social Engagement Fellows are awarded grants for projects working with partners on a community action project.
IRRPP Fellows Heading link
2022 - 2023
2022 – 2023 Faculty Fellows
Danielle Beaujon, Criminology, Law and Justice
Controlling the Casbahs: Mapping Racialized Crime in Marseille and Algiers, 1918-1946
French police officers obsessed over the dangers that they believed lurked in the streets of the Casbahs of Marseille and Algiers, two cities ruled by France but separated by the Mediterranean. In Algiers, the Casbah referred to the citadel inhabited by indigenous Algerians, but journalists in Marseille appropriated the term to describe their city’s Algerian immigrant neighborhoods, too. Controlling the Casbahs traces the relationship between the police and Algerians in these spaces from 1918-1946. I argue that the racialized policing of Algerians in Marseille and Algiers built upon how officers mapped ideas of race onto urban space. To demonstrate these spatial dynamics of criminalization, for this research project I will create a dataset of criminal statistics from daily police reports and analyze this data using digital humanities techniques. Controlling the Casbahs contributes to contemporary debates over police accountability by tracing the historical roots and enduring legacies of colonial policing.
Susila Gurusami, Criminology, Law and Justice
Nothing Is Impossible: Criminalized Black Mothers Ending Incarceration
This book project, titled Nothing is Impossible: Criminalized Black Mothers Ending Incarceration, documents the politics of radical self and community care through the frame of what I call abolitionist motherwork, thereby illuminating the labor of imagining and building worlds beyond the reach of carcerality and anti-Blackness. Rather than understanding the punishment and forced separation of Black mothers and their children as a reflection of Black women’s maternal unfitness, I ask: how do these conditions reveal the ways that U.S. law is intentionally structured to harm Black mothers and their families? Drawing on ethnographic data and interviews with formerly incarcerated Black women, coupled with a historical legal analysis, I show how the law punishes Black women in ways that challenge dominant assumptions about mothering and criminal justice reform. I argue that Black women work towards conditions that seem impossibly utopian as part of their everyday mothering labor, but are criminalized for these same actions.
Michael Jin, Global Asian Studies
Voices of the Unredressed Structural Legacies of Nuclear Violence and the Meaning of Compensatory Justice in the U.S. Pacific Empire
This research project explores the “unredressed” as meaningful intervention in the study of post-World War II reparations movements by focusing on the struggles of Korean and U.S.-born Japanese American (Nisei) survivors of the 1945 U.S. nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Without recognition by the U.S. government as victims of the atomic bombing, these forgotten survivors were denied resources necessary for the treatment of their radiation illnesses upon their repatriation to South Korea and the United States after the war. The stories of these non-Japanese A-bomb survivors offer a unique perspective on the transnational movements to redress nuclear atrocities committed against peoples of color across the U.S. Pacific empire throughout the Cold War era and the future of pan-ethnic transnational solidarity. Based on transnational oral historical and archival research, the project will culminate in a public exhibit and an article that illuminate the voices of Korean and Nisei A-bomb survivors as victims of colonial, racial, and military violence who emerged as an important constituent of the international nuclear disarmament movement. Negotiating the shifting geopolitical dynamics under the U.S. nuclear umbrella in the Pacific and the politics of race and citizenship, these survivors have reclaimed their place in history, challenged the U.S.-centered liberation narrative of the atomic bombing, and reshaped the debates about government care and reparations.
Agustina Laurito, Public Administration
Se habla español? Medicaid expansions and substance use treatment services for Spanish speakers
Despite high rates of substance use, Latinx people are less likely to receive, complete, or be satisfied with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Various factors explain this, including perceived treatment efficacy and lack of insurance. Prior work has also indicated that cultural barriers and lack of culturally competent services in the sector, including services in Spanish, may also contribute to these SUD treatment disparities. This research project examines whether the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased the availability of SUD treatment services for Spanish speakers and whether that change happened in areas with highest proportion of Spanish speakers. This is the first study to use national data to explore this question. Results from this study can help understand whether increasing access to public health insurance contributes to the expansion of linguistically competent services in the SUD treatment sector and set the stage for future research focused on SUD treatment outcomes of Spanish speakers.
Sigrid Luhr, Sociology
Engineering Inequality: Race, Gender, and Job-Hopping in the San Francisco Bay Area Tech Industry
Technology companies have grappled publicly with the underrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and women workers in their industry. While much of the conversation surrounding inequality in tech focuses on the educational pipeline, this research project examines how inequality is produced after workers enter the industry. Drawing on 120 in-depth interviews with tech workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, this project focuses specifically on the role job-hopping plays in workers’ career trajectories. Although it is common for tech workers to change companies, little research examines how job-hopping is structured by race and gender. Attrition rates suggest that men and White workers are more likely to leave tech companies. Yet these rates conceal important variation in why workers change companies and the consequences of doing so. This project adds insight into how gender and race shape the reasons tech workers change jobs and how these changes shape career advancement and occupational segregation.
Patrisia Macias-Rojas, Sociology
“They’ll take your house, your car, your papers”: A (re)investigation of systemic barriers to economic mobility and access to justice on the US-Mexico Border
This research project examines the experiences of residents in Southern Arizona border communities who experience civil justice problems related to US-Mexico border security, even in cases where they are not undocumented migrants. The project builds on intensive ethnographic fieldwork undertaken 20 years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, when the former Immigration and Naturalization Service was reorganized under what we know today as the Department of Homeland Security. Since the period of my initial research, there has been no systematic longitudinal study of the transformation of border security, much less the factors contributing to barriers to economic mobility and access to justice for residents living in high poverty US-Mexico border communities. This project will probe these questions at the level of the individuals and communities in securitized zones that are the real experts in navigating these barriers and pathways.
Ashley Muchow, Criminology, Law and Justice
Priming an Immigrant Threat: Variation in Local Media Coverage, 2003–2019
Media coverage of immigration plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion and, by extension, public policy. While existing research has documented persistent media links between immigration and crime, we know little about how local media coverage relates to the deluge of state and local policy responses to immigration enacted over the past two decades. Using a novel dataset of television broadcasts from every U.S. media market between 2003 and 2019, this research study offers the first systematic analysis of local media coverage of immigration and crime. This project will begin with a descriptive assessment of spatial and temporal patterning in the prevalence and tone of local news coverage and proceed by estimating the ability of local contextual factors to explain variation in coverage. Findings will shed light on the role of local media in shaping increasingly localized policy responses to immigration and, by extension, immigrant reception and integration.
Laurie Jo Reynolds, Art
Chicago 400 Alliance Research Coordination
The Chicago 400 Alliance is the only advocacy effort in the country led by homeless people with convictions and the only public education campaign challenging all public conviction registries and conviction-based housing banishment laws. These discredited policies permanently exclude people, very disproportionately Black men, from most housing for life, and they force hundreds of Chicagoans into homelessness, unemployment, family separation, transience, and reincarceration. The acute crisis caused by these laws has not been adequately researched in Illinois or their impact sufficiently communicated to policymakers and system stakeholders. This research project will collect narrative accounts from directly-affected people and system stakeholders about the homelessness, medical and mental health crises, and other social breakdowns caused by these laws; create visual materials to represent this impact; conduct quantitative analysis on the growth of registries; and use these materials to implement a national media outreach campaign to communicate these results.
Emily Vasquez, Sociology
A Latinx Genome? Negotiating Panethnicity in Precision Medicine
The emerging field of precision medicine promises prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies that are tailored to the genetic, environment, and lifestyle profiles of individuals. Nonetheless, publicly-funded research in precision medicine and resulting technologies and guidelines rely heavily on subgroup analyses, primarily along the lines of racial and ethnic categories. Within this context, this project will examine this field’s negotiation of the Latinx identity category. Specifically, it will provide critical insight into why scientific stakeholders and publics deploy this category despite the enormous heterogeneity that characterizes Latinx individuals as a collective, the challenges its deployment creates for scientific and biomedical practice, and the political implications of its deployment for Latinx health advocates and activists. Findings will be relevant to public and expert debates of the role of racial and ethnic categories in biomedicine and contemporary initiatives to elaborate policy guidance for their use in research and practice.
Elaine J. Yuan, Communication
Disinformation and the political mobilization of extremely conservative Chinese immigrants during the 2020 presidential election
With their enthusiastic support for Trump and close entanglement with the far-right movements, a group of extremely conservative members from the Chinese immigrant community came to the public’s attention during the 2020 presidential election. This project seeks to understand the political mobilization of this so-far little-known subsection of the Chinese immigrant community in the ecosystem of disinformation spread through social media. Taking a computational and bigdata approach, this project collects and analyzes social media data generated by extremely conservative Chinese immigrants (ECCIs) and related far-right groups between January, 2020 and June, 2021. Applying social network analysis and topical modeling methods, this project examines 1) the information sources and political topics that ECCIs engaged with during the election; 2) how political participation took place through (dis)information exchange across the various topical cliques among ECCIs and with the far-right groups; and 3) the complex interaction, rather than one-way causal relationship, between disinformation and political mobilization in the context of current domestic and international politics.
2022 – 2023 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Saria Lofton, Population Health Nursing Science
Community Partner: Chicago Grows Food
The Intergenerational Home Gardening Photovoice Project
Chicago Grows Food (CGF) is a coalition of growers, food systems advocates, and academics that supports food justice through our Grow Your Groceries (GYG) home gardening program. This project work with CGF members to engage youth and elders on a photovoice project that will disseminate youth-led social marketing campaigns that advocate for home gardening under the leadership of community elders. We will train youth and elders to deliver and share their social marketing campaigns through social media. The final results will be disseminated to the community through a public showcase. We expect to increase awareness of home gardening and the number of home gardens in predominantly Black communities in Chicago. This project has the potential to reach an intergenerational audience. It will provide the opportunity to understand better ways to engage in community-based outreach that can positively impact home gardening in local communities.
Maria Krysan, Sociology
Community Partner: Tonika Johnson and the Folded Map Project
Developing a Folded Map Curriculum: A Pilot Project
Innovative collaborations between social science and the arts can provide fresh approaches and perspectives on today’s social challenges. Arts and social sciences serve to both inspire and amplify each other in service of public education and action. The highly successful Folded Map Project by artist Tonika Johnson has shone a spotlight on the problems of racial residential segregation in Chicago in a compelling and accessible manner. And Folded Map itself has been infused with, and inspired by, social science analysis and insights. Since its release, teachers at all educational levels have been seeking Folded Map curriculum materials to incorporate into their classes. This pilot project will be a collaboration to design, develop, and test a selection of Folded Map curriculum materials in preparation for the creation of the full suite of curriculum materials.
Ariel Uniqua Smith, Population Health Nursing Science
Community Partner: Pride Action Tank
Unpacking the influence of identity on dating violence among Black sexual minority youth
Teen dating violence (TDV) is a significant public health crisis impacting Black sexual minority youth. Theories of structural violence identify stigma and social exclusion as mechanisms through which structural systems perpetuate adverse mental, physical, and social health outcomes among marginalized groups. This stigma may present in the form of racism, sexism, heteronormativity, or homo/bi/transphobia resulting in health disparities among vulnerable populations. Despite its importance, the impact of structural violence on TDV among Black sexual minority youth has been largely unexamined. Hence, the purpose of this project is to determine how experiences with structural violence – social exclusion, discrimination, identity-based stigma – influence romantic relationships among Black sexual minority youth. Individual key-informant interviews will be conducted with 40 Black, sexual minority youth. Findings will guide the development of an NIH R21 grant application to develop a TDV prevention intervention culturally targeted to the needs and experiences of Black sexual minority youth.
Stephanie Torres, Educational Psychology
Community Partner: The Resurrection Project
Developing an intervention to address structural racism among Latinx immigrant families: A community-engaged approach
Structural racism, including immigration fears, discrimination, and linguistic isolation, is a key factor that drives disproportionate stress among Latinx immigrant families. There is an urgent need for a multilevel intervention aimed at addressing the impacts of structural racism through community navigation, family coping and communication skills, and individual stress management techniques. The purpose of this project is to develop and finalize an intervention curriculum addressing stress due to structural racism among Latinx immigrant parents and youth. To that end, this project will: 1) develop the intervention by integrating The Resurrection Project’s existing resources and developing new materials; 2) present the intervention and gather feedback; 3) finalize intervention content and develop a manual; and 4) plan for future implementation and dissemination. This project lays the groundwork for influencing policy and social change through empowering Latinx immigrant families in the midst of structural racism.
Dieff Vital, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Community Partner: DuPage County ACT-SO
Towards the Engagement of Underrepresented Minority Students in STEM Topics at UIC
According to the race breakdown of the University of Illinois at Chicago, less than 25% of the student population are African Americans/Blacks, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. This statistic is even staggering when it comes to STEM representation. This is alarming as Chicago has a large population of Black students and other underrepresented minority students. As the university is embarking in the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) campaign, it is important to define strategies to solve this problem; how to get more underrepresented minority students into STEM? This project will work with DuPage County ACT-SO to develop STEM-based tutorials and other learning tools for the high school level that teachers and students can easily access.
2021 - 2022
2021 – 2022 Faculty Fellows
Tarini Bedi, Anthropology
Driving While Muslim: Racialization and the Policing of Mobilities in Mumbai
This book project titled, Driving While Muslim: Racialization and the Policing of Mobilities in Mumbai contributes to comparative understandings of race and racialization from locations outside the Euro- American West. It is based on ethnographic research with Muslim migrants into Mumbai, who work as professional drivers with app-based rideshare companies, Uber and its Indian competitor Olacabs. It argues that interactions between professional Muslim drivers and representatives of the state (police, transport authorities, permitting and licensing agencies) and private sector employers, Uber and Ola unfold structurally in racialized terms. It concludes that everyday practices, while empirically embedded in regulatory, spatial, and political particularities of India are linked to the global operation of racialization, profiling, and state surveillance that constrains and shapes the capacity of minorities to labor with dignity and freedom, and to move around their cities, and around the world. As a study of working-class Muslim taxi drivers it links specific experiences of racialization of driving while Muslim in India to Euro-American debates and racial justice advocacy against racialized policing of black and brown drivers; and to what policy and racial justice advocates have written about as driving while Black and Latinx.
Kathryn Bocanegra, Social Work
Between a Bullet and Its Target: Street Intervention Work, Trauma Exposure, Professional Consequences
Street intervention workers in Chicago’s black neighborhoods stand between bullets and their targets on a daily basis. Due to city and philanthropic investments in community-based violence prevention programming, street intervention work has expanded substantially over the past four years. While this expansion is undoubtedly beneficial for the safety and stability of black neighborhoods in Chicago, the work of street intervention carries unexamined trauma exposure with potentially grave personal and professional consequences. The study examines forms of traumatic exposure that take place during street intervention work and the responses to manage this exposure among street intervention workers. Subsequently, the study aims to identify best practices to address trauma exposure and best support Chicago’s frontline workers to build a more robust community infrastructure for public safety that does not rely on law enforcement. The study involves 35 semi-structured interviews between street intervention workers and program managers in 3 neighborhoods with high rates of shootings and homicides: Austin, Englewood, and Back of the Yards. The policy relevance of the study responds to advocacy around realigning public budgets to prioritize community-based safety solutions, defunding the police, and utilizing a public health approach to reduce shootings and homicides.
Andy Clarno, Sociology
Surveillance in Chicago: Fusion Centers and Suspicious Activity Reports
Building on a 3-year research partnership, the Arab American Action Network and the Policing in Chicago Research Group this study will analyze fusion centers and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) as technologies of racialized surveillance. Fusion centers are high-tech intelligence hubs where police monitor surveillance networks and facilitate data sharing between local, state, and federal agencies. SARs are used by fusion centers to coordinate multi-agency investigations after people report something suspicious to police (“see something, say something”). The Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police both operate fusion centers. Preliminary analysis of data from CPD suggests that 85% of people whose racial identity is listed in the SAR database are people of color; 63% are identified as Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, or “olive skinned.” Our new research will address: 1) patterns of surveillance as documented in SARs collected by CPD and ISP fusion centers; and 2) the shifting surveillance strategies of CPD, ISP, and the FBI. We will share our findings through public reports, community teach-ins, and town-hall meetings.
Natasha Crooks, Human Development Nursing Science
Protecting Black girls Sexual Development: A Family Intervention
Black girls are overwhelmingly impacted by multiple health disparities, disproportionately experiencing higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI), sexual violence, racism, and discrimination. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting sexual and reproductive health education for adolescents, as 70% of Chicago Public School students are not receiving sex ed as promised by the existing policy leaving the primary responsibility on families. The role of Black families in sexual socialization and delivery of sexual and reproductive health information to their daughters is critical. The purpose of this study is to integrate qualitative findings from Black men, community and adolescent advisory boards; into an adapted evidence based STI/HIV intervention for online delivery to Black girls and their families. Findings will inform the development of a STI/HIV prevention intervention to protect the sexual and reproductive health of Black girls.
Claire Decoteau, Sociology
Social Autopsy of COVID-19 in Chicago
Infection and death rates in Chicago reveal the uneven racial impact of the coronavirus. Although there is widespread recognition among government officials that COVID-19 is exposing historic racial disparities, less attention has been given to the racial impact of policy remedies themselves. Our project asks: what explains the unequal racial impact of COVID-19 despite the efficient, racially-conscious public health response in Illinois? Pre-existing health conditions and structural inequalities play a role. This project hypothesizes that public health and state policies, intended to stem the tide of the pandemic and protect the population at large, expose Black, Latinx and Asian American populations to additional risk and insecurity, compounding rather than alleviating existing structural inequalities. In addition, social risks that render disadvantaged populations vulnerable (e.g., segregation, environmental exposures, social networks, preexisting health conditions, working conditions) may operate differently for each racial group. Data includes interviews with policymakers and racially marginalized Chicago residents.
Alana Gunn, Criminology, Law and Justice
Stigma and Carceral Control for Black Women Post-incarceration: the Implications for Wounded Healing
Stringent drug policies and gendered shifts in substance use have led to an upswing in incarceration for women. In fact, the criminalizing of drug-related offenses have been the greatest source of growth in female incarceration. Unfortunately, this upsurge disproportionately impacts Black women whose lives are situated at an intersection of both racialized and gendered policies which continue to harm their healing from trauma and illnesses post-incarceration. Black women also face myriad forms of surveillance as they navigate both social service and parole system. Considering this, what are the implications for Black women pursuing roles as wounded healers as they navigate their own traumas. Mobilizing data from women transitioning home, this paper explores the wounded healer identity processes among 28 women. Implications will be discussed for building strategies which place wounded healers at the forefront of movements to reimagine social provision in ways that do not reproduce the carceral state.
Jaira J. Harrington, Black Studies
Inscribed and Erased: Domestic Worker’s Rights in Brazil
Brazil’s 7 to 9 million domestic workers are the world’s highest number per capita. This occupational group is overwhelmingly female, Black, and living in poverty and their work originates in unpaid labor during colonization and slavery (1500-1888). Domestic workers have mobilized around rights claims since the 1930s despite being formally excluded from political rights during different periods of democratic integration. Although most domestics informally participate in their labor movement, their union leaders and representatives drive transformational policy change. However, domestic workers only gained labor rights with Constitutional Amendment 72 (2013), hailed the “second abolition of slavery”. This research addresses domestics’ specific location at the intersection of race, labor and gender oppression. This book project reconsiders Afro-Brazilian democratic inclusion from an intersectional perspective.
Mario LaMothe, Black Studies & Anthropology
The Politics of Tolerance in Haitian Vodou Spaces
Set in the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, this project directs attention to increasing violent physical altercations between queer Vodouists and straight-appearing practitioners and visitors at Vodou ceremonies. In the Africanist religious culture, queer Vodouists are revered as enlightened gender-shifting mediators of human and invisible realms. Yet local enactments of global capitalism and evangelical anti-Vodou homophobic zealotry erode their personal safety and sanctuaries. Situated at the intersection of Black and African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, Queer Studies, Performance Studies, and Vodou epistemology, this research project employs ethnographic and archival research methods to assess how queer Vodouists and their places of ancestral worship are impacted by heteropatriarchal state decrees and policies, which are relationally constituted through increasing right-wing authoritarianism and international humanitarian agendas.
Ashley Muchow, Criminology, Law and Justice
Creating a Latinx Threat: The Consequences of Crimmigration for Police Arrests
While a growing body of research has documented stark ethnic disparities in criminal justice
involvement, little attention has been paid to the role of federal immigration policy in aggravating these inequalities. A series of legislative reforms passed between 1988 and 1996 integrated immigration control with the day-to-day operations of frontline criminal justice actors. This merger, referred to as “crimmigration,” elevated the importance of police in sorting individuals with immigrant characteristics into the criminal justice system. Using county-level arrest data from California between 1980 to 2000, this project examines whether these shifts in immigration policy priorities influenced the propensity of police officers to arrest Latinx individuals. Findings from this study will shed new light on the relationship between federal policy and discretionary enforcement of criminal law and help contextualize disproportionate Latinx representation in the criminal justice system.
Rebecca Teasdale Educational Psychology and Cherie Avent, Educational Psychology
Are We Moving the Needle? Evaluation of Policies and Programs to Advance Racial Equity
Systematic evaluation that includes voices from communities of color provides critical information about policy solutions addressing racial and ethnic equity by revealing how
effectively inequities are reduced, identifying areas for refinement, and capturing unintended consequences. Without evaluation, policymakers, practitioners, organizers, and members of the public lack valuable information about whether interventions are “moving the needle”. However, limited guidance is offered on how evaluators can or should conceptualize, operationalize, and assess racial equity in practice. The goal of the proposed project is to advance equity-focused policy solutions by identifying and disseminating principles for evaluators in defining and assessing racial equity when evaluating interventions, in ways that incorporate perspectives from communities of color.
Lez Trujillo Torres, Marketing
From the Scientific Bench to the Market: The Intersection of Race and Genetic Innovations
This project investigates the relationship between race/ethnicity and consumer adoption of contemporary genetic innovations. Genetic technologies have progressed at a dramatic pace in recent years ranging from personalized medicines, genetic therapies, stem cell transplantations, immunotherapies, and recently the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. While these developments are often touted as technological revolutions in scientific and market discourse, major questions remain about who reaps the benefits of these technologies given the historical contentious relationship between racial and ethnic groups and health science. This relationship has been fraught by scientific abuse and lack of oversight from policymakers, which has generated mistrust and resulted in access inequalities. Using a multi-method approach, this investigation focuses on a) understanding the role of race as genetic innovations move from the scientific bench to the market, and b) the obstacles and opportunities that surround the adoption of genetic innovations by racial and ethnic groups.
2021 – 2022 COVID-19 & Racial Justice Community Scholar Research Pilot Award Fellows
IRRPP came together with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement to fund research related to COVID-19. As with our Policy and Social Engagement Fellowships, these grants were for collaborations between UIC researchers and community based organizations.
Saria Lofton, Population Health Nursing Science
Community Partners: Openlands & Chicago Grows Food
Grow Your Groceries Campaign
Prior to COVID-19, food insecurity was prevalent and mirrored racial and ethnic disparities in Chicago. Feeding America estimated that 10% of Cook County residents were food insecure in 2018, including 12% of children. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing food insecurity disparities and increased the need for sustainable food resources. In response to this growing food insecurity, Chicago Grows Food launched the Grow Your Groceries (GYG) program to help individuals grow their own food to improve individual food security. This collaboration will involve systematically evaluating the GYG program. Data collected will support a redesign of the GYG grow kits to reduce household food insecurity through home-based gardening and will inform continuous quality improvement efforts of the GYG campaign. This project will also support expansion, and increased use of GYG grow kits throughout communities for color in Chicago.
Pamela Pearson, Department of Human Development Nursing Science
Community Partners: Melanated Midwives
The health disparities seen in COVID-19 and maternal mortality in the US are at the intersection of structural racism in healthcare and society. Given that the maternal mortality rate for Black women in Chicago is already six times higher than that for white women pre COVID-19, the Melanated Midwives prenatal program is the cornerstone of an innovative research project that centers the voices of Black mothers to address maternal morbidity and mortality in Chicago during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the project, two community advisory boards (CABs) will be generated to provide ideas for centering the voices of Black mothers and making Melanated Group Midwifery Care (MGMC) sustainable and scalable. Secondly, the project will seek to establish a collaboration with the Chicago Black Doula Association (CBDA) to facilitate the community-based in-home visitation component of MGMC.
Barbara Ransby, Director, Social Justice Initiative & Gender and Women’s Studies
Community Partners: Equity And Transformation (EAT)
This project is to undertake research on points of view around abolition among EAT’s Chicago-based communities, which include formerly incarcerated people and people who have experience with the criminal justice system. By surveying and interviewing community members, the project will explore the range of opinions around how strategies rooted in abolition, like divest/invest, resonate with community members. Interviews will result in a collection of findings that employ oral history methods to faithfully represent attitudes toward abolition. This will provide a necessary corrective to dominant assumptions around criminalization and Black people working in informal economies. The research findings will inform EAT’s ongoing organizing and campaigns, particularly for the Breathe Act IL.
Gayatri Reddy, Global Asian Studies & Anthropology and Anna Guevarra, Global Asian Studies
Community Partners: Winthrop Family Reunion Committee
The segregation of African Americans on the Southside of Chicago, through such tactics as redlining and racial restrictive covenants, is well-known and has been widely documented. Less well known is the fact that these same tactics were used on the Northside of the city as well, on one of the first blocks that was settled by African Americans — the 4600 block of Winthrop Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood. This project will trace the story of this block and its residents over the course of the 20th century and will capture not only an important and untold narrative of Black Chicago but, more importantly, the memories, stories, and the collective historicizing of life, love, and care, as well as the intentional practices of community-building that produced the 300+ current members of the Winthrop Family that have survived and thrived for over a century.
Laurie Jo Reynolds, Art and Art History
Community Partners: Chicago 400 Alliance
We all want a justice system that makes the public safe and holds people accountable for harm, and then allows them to move on with their lives. But our registry and banishment laws systematically displace, exclude, and reincarcerate people with past convictions, while failing to prevent victimization or support survivors, especially those with criminal records. This project will support the work of the Chicago 400 Alliance, which is committed to transforming our state responses to violence and challenging our most extreme barriers to reentry.The Chicago 400 Alliance is the only advocacy effort in the country led by homeless people with convictions and the only research and public education campaign that addresses the harm caused by public conviction registries and housing banishment laws. Housing is a fundamental need and the foundation for a positive life. Yet, Illinois registry and residency laws conflict with the need to seek shelter and personal safety, take care of one’s children, and access services to which they would otherwise be entitled.
2020 - 2021
2020 – 2021 Faculty Fellows
Aisha Griffith, Educational Psychology
The Application of Exclusionary Discipline to Black Female Students and Potential Role of Trust
Schools apply exclusionary school discipline to Black female students at staggering rates in contrast to their White female counterparts, however, their experiences have been understudied. Given the importance of positive relationships with teachers, this project explores the role teacher-student trust plays in processes leading to exclusionary school discipline for Black females. First, a systematic literature review will be conducted on what is currently known about the types of incidents Black females face with teachers that lead to exclusionary discipline. Second, a mixed methods study will be employed to explore how exclusionary discipline unfolds for Black females in Illinois with a focus on teacher-student trust and interactions through analyses of school records and interviews with Black female adolescents who have been expelled from school. Findings will be helpful to Illinois schools seeking to be in compliance with The Public Act 099-0456 (SB 100) that calls for a decrease in exclusionary discipline.
Ashley Muchow, Criminology, Law and Justice
Can Community Policing Reduce the “Chilling Effect” of Immigration Enforcement?
Over the past decade, Los Angeles has experimented with a unique model of community policing in four majority-Latino public housing developments. This effort coincided with intensified immigration enforcement that blurred the lines between police and immigration authorities—increasing the reticence of Latino residents to engage with law enforcement. The objective of this study is to determine the extent to which Los Angeles’ community policing intervention influenced patterns of Latino crime reporting and/or offset declines brought about by escalations in immigration enforcement. The project will employ a quasi-experimental design wherein rates of Latino crime reporting in targeted developments are compared to a synthetic control comprised of areas similar in terms of their sociodemographic composition and pre-intervention levels of crime and crime reporting. This study contributes to a nascent evidence base around measures local law enforcement agencies can use to ensure the service and protection of communities increasingly targeted by immigration enforcement.
Atef Said, Sociology
Revolution Squared: Time, Space and Political Possibilities in Egypt
This book project, titled Revolution Squared: Time, Space and Political Possibilities in Egypt, studies how revolutions are defined by their spatio-temporal context and why this matters to understanding the successes and failures of the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Based upon ethnographic, archival, visual arts, and social-media based research conducted between 2011–2015, I investigate: 1) How and why did dominant analyses solely associate and reduce the Egyptian revolution with the events in Tahrir Square? 2) How did this naming and narrowing of attention affect events themselves? 3) How and to what extent did all of these processes contribute to the dramatic expansion of political space in the immediate aftermath of the revolution and the equally dramatic contraction of that space in the years that followed? By illustrating that the revolution was constituted by multiple successes and defeats across numerous intersecting spatio-temporal sites, Revolution Squared illustrates the significance of a spatio-temporal analysis to this historic revolution and the broader study of social movements and revolutions.
Em Rabelais, Women, Children, and Family Health Sciences
Decentering Whiteness: Make Our Bodies Matter
This book project, titled Decentering Whiteness: Make Our Bodies Matter, interrogates healthcare’s subsumed whiteness, which continues to harm and kill those that healthcare has intentions to help. Whiteness, identified by those living outside of whiteness, defines social, political, and other normalities, including defining what is (ab)normal about and (in)appropriate use of the body. This text will focus on: describing the problem(s) both structurally and in their intra- and interpersonal manifestations; interrupting the ease whereby white people are commonly able to dissociate from the oppressions of whiteness; and the ways in which readers, from their own positionalities, can decenter whiteness in clinical care, health research, and health professions education. An aim of this book is to shift our ethics to something truly patient- and community-centered and as defined by those who have been naming the problems of whiteness for centuries.
Jennifer Geiger, Jane Addams College of Social Work and Daysi Ximena Diaz-Strong, Jane Addams College of Social Work
From Foster Care to College: Experiences among Latinx and Immigrant Students
Youth with foster care experience a number of challenges related to educational and social adjustment, including significantly lower rates of high school graduation, college enrollment, and employment when compared with similar-aged peers without foster care experience. Similarly, many Latinx youth and youth from immigrant families experience barriers as they pursue and matriculate in postsecondary education. This study uses a LatCrit theoretical framework to examine the intersectionality of youth with foster care experience with diverse racial/ethnic and immigrant backgrounds while considering how their experiences/outcomes vary across multiple marginalized identities and impacts their experiences in postsecondary education settings. For this research, we will conduct in-depth interviews with 15 students with foster care experience who identify as Latinx and/or from immigrant families to understand their experiences in postsecondary settings. We expect that the findings will inform policy and practice across multiple areas, including K-12 education, higher education, social work, and immigration policy.
Liat Ben-Moshe, Criminology, Law and Justice
Racializing Anti-Psychiatry and Prison Organizing: The Case Against the Violence Center in the 1970s
This research project is part of a larger study looking at psychiatric experimentation on prisoners, including psychosurgery in the 1960s and 1970s, and its relevance into today. The main case study is the resistance to the establishment of a proposed Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence at UCLA in the early 1970s. Specifically the research focuses on COPAP (Committee Opposing Psychiatric Abuse of Prisoners) as an intersectional site of resistance to state control connecting black power and racial justice movements to anti psychiatry, labor organizations and disability rights. This genealogy can illuminate current activism and policy debates on gun and prison reform, which do not take into consideration the long racial trajectory of policies seeking psychiatric research and intervention on violence nor its intersectional history of resistance.
Lorena Garcia, Sociology
Movin’ On Up: Latinxs, Upward Mobility, and Shifting Class Experiences
Research on the children of Latinx im/migrants offers valuable knowledge on their experiences and the circumstances under which they are growing up. Some of the work on poor or workingclass children in im/migrant families considers their future life prospects for improving their families’ socioeconomic conditions. Little is known, however, about the experiences of immigrant-origin children who have achieved upward mobility as adults. Research for this book project draws on in-depth interviews with 80 middle-class Latinxs in Chicago who grew up in poor or working-class im/migrant families. It examines how these middle-class Latinxs make sense of and experience their upward mobility. I extend existing understandings of Latinxs’ social mobility by examining the experiences and subjectivities of newly middle-class Latinxs who are both 1.5 or second-generation immigrant and first-generation middle-class. This work offers insight on processes relevant to intergenerational mobility and the configuration of transitions this group of Latinxs negotiates and the implications of this for their families.
Marcel Rosa-Salas, Managerial Studies
Digital Advertising and the Racial Politics of Data Representation
In 2018, an estimated thirty two percent of digital advertising funds were spent targeting Latinx, African American, and Asian American people. Tech platforms and data brokers are rendering online behavioral data into digestible, targetable profiles to sell to entities as diverse as personal care companies and presidential campaigns. Exactly how a person’s race and ethnicity can be digitized, who is doing this work, and to what end these data are being used are often obscured behind trade protection claims. However, with new data privacy regulations enacted in Nevada and California, these practices will soon come under the ambit of regulatory bodies. How will the roll out of these policies impact how the multicultural marketing industry pursues the expansion of the surveillance capitalism apparatus to be more “inclusive” of people of color? What are the implications of these efforts on data privacy and potential data discrimination? This project will continue ethnographic research on the practices that multicultural marketing professionals are engaging in to maintain relevance in this newly regulated digital advertising economy.
Randi Singer, Women, Children, and Family Health Sciences, Crystal L. Patil, Women, Children, and Family Health Sciences and Phoenix Matthews, Health Systems Science
Community Empowerment: The Road to Reducing HIV/STI’s among Black Sex Workers in Chicago
Getting to zero new HIV infections by 2030 is an important public health priority. Increasing HIV prevention, self-management and harm reduction for marginalized populations is critical. Sex workers are one of five “key populations” at increased risk for HIV. Research shows community empowerment interventions reduce HIV epidemics because design, implementation and evaluation include the targeted community. One Community Empowerment approach successfully used with marginalized populations is the Centering Healthcare model. Centering Healthcare has three components: Healthcare, Interactive Learning, and Community Building that collectively emphasize social support and joint problem-solving. This research project builds on a pilot funded to determine feasibility, acceptability and impact of Centering Healthcare for HIV prevention, self-management and harm reduction needs of sex workers. We aim to replicate and expand the funded work to include a new sample of Black participants to determine feasibility, acceptability and impact of Community Empowerment on HIV prevention, self-management and harm reduction among Black sex workers.
Rohan Jeremiah, Human Development Nursing Science
Impact of Structural Violence among Black and African American refugee men in rural America
Historically, Chicagoland has served as a refugee resettlement epicenter for resettled Black/African- American refugees. However, recent resettlement patterns have shifted towards semi-rural and rural communities such as the Quad Cities. The Quad Cities metropolitan area is located 165 miles West of Chicago on the Mississippi River in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Research has shown that the nuances of an environment and the absence of social support systems can worsen and/or exacerbate refugee health outcomes. This research study will examine the social support networks of resettled Black/African American refugee men and qualify how such networks can become opportunities to enhance the health and wellbeing of Black and African American refugee men. Findings from this study will be used to conduct a comparative analysis with data collected among similar populations in Chicago and delineate how geographical landscapes of refugee resettlements can impact the health and wellbeing of Black/African American refugees.
Susan Perkins, Managerial Studies
Can Diversity Be Regulated? Corporate Board Composition and Firm Performance
This body of research examines the racial and ethnic composition of the corporate boards in the largest U.S. publicly-listed firms from 2009-2016 to determine whether public policies and induced institutional reforms result in more racial and ethnic inclusion among the top leadership teams of the largest American public corporations. The research design addresses two questions: 1) did the Securities Exchange Commission policy reforms requiring disclosure of diversity hiring practices lead to more equitable representation of racial and ethnic minorities on corporate boards and, 2) do those firms with more diverse corporate boards outperform their industry peers? The results have implications for public policies related to racial inclusion and representative leadership at the national, state and local municipal and private sector organizational levels.
Susila Gurusami, Criminology, Law and Justice
Making it Home: Race, Gender, and Carceral Migration
This book project, titled Making it Home: Race, Gender, and Carceral Migration, uses ethnographic and interview data to advance theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of race, gender, migration, and punishment. I show how the state leverages carceral punishment, racism, and sexism to make “home”—the bare minimum for social and cultural reproduction—an evasive target. This book project (1) traces the process of “carceral migration” to characterize how the state legitimizes Black women’s dispossession—and their communities by extension—by legally driving them from their homes and into carceral facilities; and, (2) demonstrates how Black women act as “decarceral homemakers,” in that they materially and symbolically make and move “home” with them across time, physical spaces, and carceral confinement to resist their dislocation. The book argues that homemaking illustrates Black women’s creative practices of claiming space, even as the state continues to evoke the logics of enslavement by using the law to force Black women to migrate in chains.
2020 – 2021 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Andy Clarno, Sociology & Black Studies
Community Partners: Invisible Institute & Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)
Covid-19 and Police Surveillance in Chicago
Extending our research on Big Data policing in Chicago, the Policing in Chicago Research Group will examine the expansion of police surveillance in Chicago in response to Covid-19. We will focus on three spheres of surveillance: Police Deployments (CPD daily checkpoints, closing of entire blocks on the West side, social media monitoring to predict, prevent, and disrupt gatherings); Street outreach (how outreach workers from community organizations conducting street outreach to reduce gun violence have been enlisted to play new roles as public health ambassadors); Big tech (how Chicago is expanding its high-tech surveillance capacities in response to Covid-19).
Anna Guevara, Global Asian Studies, and Gayatri Reddy, Anthropology & Gender and Women’s Studies
Community Partners: CIRCA-Pintig
Who Cares? Tracing the Impact of COVID-19 on Filipino Careworkers
This project will support CIRCA-Pintig to launch a series of storytelling sessions/workshops about the impact of COVID-19 on Filipino careworkers. These storytelling sessions will provide support to the community of Filipinos working as caregivers, nurses, domestic workers, nannies, or housecleaners in Chicago whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. The project will also mobilize the workers as part of the larger effort to pass a paid sick leave legislation – SB471 – which would mandate employers to provide 40 hour (5 days of paid sick leave to all workers) and would greatly affect those working as caregivers, domestic workers, nannies, and housecleaners.
Claire Decoteau, Sociology
Community Partners: Autonomous Tenants Union, Albany Park Defense Network, the Hana Center, the Indo-American Center, Austin Coming Together, Westside Health Authority, Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project, and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Social Autopsy of Covid-19 in Chicago
Infection and death rates in Chicago reveal the uneven racial impact of the coronavirus. Although there is widespread recognition among policy-makers and state officials that Covid-19 is exposing historical schisms of inequality, less attention has been given to the racial impact of policy remedies themselves. Policies that mandate sheltering-at-home, rely on essential workers, establish social distancing based on hospital bedspace, and require the shuttering of schools may serve to concentrate infections in Chicago’s economically, racially and legally disadvantaged communities. In addition, many policies that seek to address racial disparities focus attention on the behaviors of people of color, as opposed to the structural conditions that put racially marginalized communities at risk. Similarly, discourses that blame “pre-existing health conditions” obscure the multiple social vulnerabilities that accumulate to disadvantage low-income people of color. Our project will conduct interviews with policy makers and with community members from four Albany Park, Austin, Little Village and West Ridge to address the following: how have policies intended to stem the tide of the pandemic and protect the population at large, exposed certain populations to additional risk and insecurity, compounding rather than alleviating existing structural inequalities?
Mitchell Uchechi, Community Health Sciences
Community Partner: The Endeleo Institute
Covid-19 Community Opportunities to Protect and Engage (COVID COPE)
This project will characterize and better understand differences in the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of black and white Chicago residents by examining black-white differences in Covid related stressors, resources and resilience processes. Covid-19 morbidity and mortality rates have disproportionately affected Chicago’s black community. Similarly, the unexpected and immediate disruptions to normal daily life caused by the Covid-19 stay-in-place policies, social distancing guidelines, and increased demand on “essential” workers—who are predominantly people of color—likely created new economic, social and healthcare-related stressors or exacerbated current ones. These stressors may have significant adverse effects on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of Chicago residents, particularly black Chicagoans. Moreover, differences in the availability and use of personal and community resource for coping with these stressors may exist, which warrants a rapid and comprehensive examination of factors that protect against poor mental health and psychosocial wellbeing during this pandemic, especially among black Chicagoans whose may face distinct stressors and rely on unique, culturally-specific resources and assets within their community.
2019 - 2020
2019 – 2020 Faculty Fellows
Brian R. Grossman, Disability and Human Development
Evaluating Cultural/Linguistic Access to Information & Referral on Family Caregivers
Over 5 million U.S. households include a person with limited English proficiency (LEP). Spanish-speakers are the largest LEP population, while Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-speaking households report the highest rates of LEP. Despite an executive order to enhance linguistic access in all federally-funded services, disability services have been slow to address how to best serve LEP individuals and families, contributing to disparities in access and utilization. People of color, including those living in LEP households, account for one-third of all family caregivers of disabled people in the US. This project assesses state family caregiver services and support websites for information in languages other than English in order to generate a map to illustrate cross-state variation in linguistic access and compare access to demographic and linguistic need based on Census data.
Jennifer Jones, Sociology
Organizing for Inclusion: Immigration Politics in the New South
Most research on immigration and race looks at individual-level patterns or at macro-level political forces and laws. Missing from this is attention to the role that organizations play in racial formation. How are immigrant organizations constructing meanings of immigration, race, integration, and pluralism for the twenty-first century? This book project examines how and why immigrant-serving organizations adopt specific discourses about racial justice and immigration, and with what effects for political outcomes and racial formation. This study reveals that immigration organizations in the South articulate different visions of immigrants in America and different visions of racial change and progress. Some organizations advocate for systematic interventions to address the rigid racial system in the U.S. Other organizations present an idealized portrayal of immigrants that is divorced from any discussions of race. These distinct visions matter for political outcomes—opening the door for some political coalitions and closing the door for others.
Lynnette Mawhinney, Curriculum and Instruction
Teachers of Color in Activist Teacher Networks: Making Space for Racial Justice and Healing
Teachers of color are often pushed out of teaching due to experiences of racism and dehumanization in their schools and districts. This has contributed to the lack of diversity in the U.S. teaching workforce, in which only 18% of public or charter school teachers are people of color (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). This study examines the ways in which 26 teachers of color involved in activist teacher networks find support within and across these groups that sustain them professionally and personally. This book project examines how teachers of color developed unique, affinity-based support systems and spaces within their activist networks, which shared certain characteristics regarding ethos, network structures, and activities/tactics. Moreover, the book identifies the strategies that the activist networks used to support teachers of color within the broader organizations. These findings have important policy implications for supporting and sustaining social justice-oriented teachers of color in the profession.
Mahesh Somashekhar, Sociology
Racial Inequality between Gentrifiers? How the Race of Gentrifiers Affects Retail Development in Gentrifying Neighborhoods
Academic studies often link gentrification to racial inequality. Nevertheless, scholars know surprisingly little about whether the racial composition of gentrifiers moderates the consequences of gentrification. Few quantitative studies compare the effects of gentrification across different racial groups, and those that do tend to limit their outcome of interest to housing attainment. In this project, I examine how the racial composition of gentrifiers influences commercial development patterns in gentrifying neighborhoods. I combine U.S. Census data and nationally complete ReferenceUSA business directory listings between 1997 and 2014 to test whether rates of retail development are different in neighborhoods gentrified by middle-class Blacks rather than middle-class Whites. This project aims to advance research demonstrating that gentrifiers are not a homogenous group. There may be racial inequality between gentrifiers. Policy makers can use this research to promote racial justice efforts and equitable forms of economic development in gentrifying communities.
Pamela Popielarz, Sociology
A Whiteness Perspective on Organizations
Today’s business world is fraught with racial/ethnic inequalities. People of color are under-represented in managerial occupations and as business owners. More broadly, legitimacy and success in business often seem to be equated with whiteness. This book project, tentatively titled Schools of Bureaucracy, sets out to explain how nineteenth century fraternal orders helped to create enduring racial/ethnic inequality in American business during and after the industrial revolution. The study mines a rich variety of documents produced by the Freemasons and the Knights of Pythias to theorize and empirically illustrate how patterns of inequality in one sector and one period can ramify across time and into other sectors.
Patrisia Macías-Rojas, Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies
The Politics of Bed Space: The Privatization of Migrant Detention
In recent decades, free market business logics have reorganized the management of migration. Nowhere is this more evident than in the privatization of migrant detention. My project examines the privatization of migrant detention through a comparison of political struggles over the public and private management of detention beds. Drawing largely on a historical and ethnographic analysis of the (racial) politics, production and distribution of prison and detention beds, this project investigates when and how the private sector became involved in migrant detention. Global Commodity Chain analysis (GCC) provides a versatile framework to trace the politics of how goods or products—in this case detention beds—move from production to distribution and consumption.
Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, Educational Psychology
Making Strides: School Readiness Among Low-income, Latino Families in Head Start
Research documents that Latino preschoolers are the least likely to be prepared for the transition to kindergarten when compared to their Black and White peers. Addressing current gaps in the literature, this project is to conduct in-depth qualitative interviews and photo-elicitation interviews with low-income, Latina mothers of Head Start preschoolers. Informed by a resilience framework, we explore the practices and beliefs of low-income mothers and the role of other family members in promoting children’s school readiness. Adding to our limited knowledge about the perspectives of preschoolers during this developmental stage, this project also plans to talk to preschoolers and learn their thoughts about kindergarten. These findings will add to substantive discussions of school readiness, resilience, and familismo. Further, our findings will provide insight for future workshops of how early childhood educators can capitalize on families’ funds of knowledge.
Torica L. Webb, Curriculum and Instruction
Pedagogies and Politicking: The Development of Civic and Political Awareness in Aotearoa New Zealand
This book project is an ethnography of the civic and political awareness and participation among Māori youth in Aotearoa New Zealand. In the first half, I focus on the emergence of the Māori cultural revitalization from the late 1980s-present. This includes advocating for school instruction in the Māori language, expanding economic opportunities for tribes by suing the New Zealand government for reparations and investing the capital, and strengthening political participation of Māori people that holds politicians accountable for improving Māori lives. The second half of Pedagogies and Politicking situates the impact of these cultural, economic and political struggles on the civic and political development of Māori youth by examining student experiences in school and familial contexts, tribal spaces, and political protests to underscore contributing factors and processes. This book contributes to ongoing conversations in education on how to use curricula and educational policy to increase young people’s civic and political engagement, and make democracy work for all.
2019 – 2020 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Brenda Parker, Urban Planning and Policy
Community Partner: Cabrini Green Legal Aid
Developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Workshop for Arab Youth in Chicago
This project will document and assess Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s client-led advocacy programs. Through these programs, individuals who have been negatively affected by the criminal justice system (via criminal records or incarceration) become community leaders and policy advocates. This model has initially shown significant transformative potential for participants, communities and policies. It aligns with Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s mission to “give justice a voice.” It also fits with racial justice advocates’ calls to support the resiliency, empowerment, and self-determination of individuals and communities impacted by prolonged institutional racism. A structured assessment will help Cabrini Green Legal Aid understand and document the effects of these client-led advocacy programs and hopefully garner resources to continue this work.
Elizabeth Todd-Breland, History
Community Partner: Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Oral History Project
Police violence against communities of color is a well-documented historical and contemporary problem in the U.S. and beyond. This faculty-community partnership will create an oral history project to address the legacies of racialized torture against Black Chicagoans under police commander Jon Burge between the 1970s and 1990s. In addition to documenting and preserving historical narratives of police violence, this community action project provides insight into how Chicago’s 2015 policy of reparations for racialized state violence impacted the lives of survivors, their family members, and their communities. Chicago Torture Justice Memorials formed in 2011 to memorialize Chicago’s police torture cases. Through a partnership between scholars, organizers, and survivors, this oral history project carries this mission forward, beyond the issuing of the reparations ordinance. The knowledge gained from this liberatory memory project will empower other communities to engage with the idea of reparations policy as a transformative means to address state violence.
Maria Krysan, Sociology & Institute of Government and Public Affairs
Community Partner: Folded Map
Expanding Folded Map: Engaging Hearts and Minds About Chicago’s Segregation*
The purpose of this project is to expand on the powerful Folded Map project, which visual-artist Tonika Johnson has created. Folded Map is a visual investigation that involves photography and videography of Chicago residents and neighborhoods that reveals the inequity created by residential segregation. To expand Folded Map, we seek to create additional visual/videography content; develop social science-based content that can be infused into the Folded Map interactive website; and engage the more than 200 individuals who have expressed interest in becoming involved in the project. In so doing, we will combine the powerful message of artistry with social science data and research to help change the conversation about racial inequity by providing a more accessible window into the systemic causes and consequences of residential segregation. *Along with support from IRRPP, this project received funding from the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.
Nicole Nguyen, Educational Policy Studies
Community Partner: American Friends Service Committee
The Enemy Within: Countering the Criminalization of Muslim Youth in the United States
Drawing from an 18-month interpretive qualitative research study and ongoing collaborations with four community organizations, this project aims to increase public awareness of, and support public contestations over, national security policies that criminalize Muslim youth in the United States. Along with our community partner, the study will design and implement teacher workshops related to countering anti-Muslim racism and surveillance in schools; develop teach-ins that educate communities on shifting national security policies in Chicagoland; and create resources that support this political education, including teacher curricula, infographics, informational handouts, and policy briefs and reports.
Melissa Wagner-Schuman, Psychiatry and Pediatrics & Angela Shrestha, Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry
Community Partner: Asian Human Services
Assessing the Mental Health Needs and Access Barriers for Members of the Korean Community in Relation to Others Across the Chicagoland Area
Current literature suggests that Korean Americans underutilize mental health services. Despite this, several studies have found that the prevalence of psychiatric illnesses amongst Korean Americans is higher comparison to other racial groups. Much of past research on disparities in Korean American mental healthcare access and utilization was completed in studies focusing on Asian American populations without separation of sub-ethnic groups. However, unique societal, cultural, and systemic differences influence interactions with the healthcare system, limiting the generalizability of previous studies. This study seeks to distinguish the mental health needs and access barriers specific to Korean American populations. To accomplish this, we survey the greater Chicagoland Area’s Asian American community, focusing on Korean Americans and, along with community partners, we develop culturally sensitive initiatives and community centered solutions targeting identified barriers.
2018 - 2019
2018 – 2019 Faculty Fellows
Claire Laurier Decoteau, Sociology
The “Western Disease”: Epistemic Contestations over Autism in the Somali Diaspora
There is evidence indicating that Somali refugees have high rates of autism. Somalis in North America call autism the “Western disease” because there is no word for autism in the Somali language and because many believe it does not exist in Somalia. I conducted three years of qualitative research in Minneapolis and Toronto – cities with the highest concentrations of Somalis in the US and Canada. My book examines how Somalis make sense of their vulnerability to autism and navigate barriers to resources for their children. Somalis are forging epistemic communities, united around an etiology and ontology of autism. Somalis’ experiences of forced migration, racial exclusion, and non-Western cultural ontologies of health influence their understanding of autism and inform their formation of health social movements that challenge mainstream scientific approaches to autism. Somalis’ race and nationality play key roles in their embodied experiences of autism and their mobilizations into health social movements.
Alexandra Filindra, Political Science & LALS & Psychology
Race, Gender, Guns and Citizenship on the Pages of the American Rifleman
I explore the nexus between reactionary social movement narratives and white public opinion by analyzing the messages developed by the NRA in the American Rifleman. In earlier research (Filindra and Kaplan 2016, Filindra and Kaplan 2017), I show that racial prejudice and white identity dynamics are substantial drivers of white opposition to gun control. Others have shown the same for gun ownership (O’Brien et al. 2013). Following in the tradition of Mendelberg (2001), I suggest that the gun rights movement has relied on implicit racial messaging to link guns and gun rights to white male identity and white understandings of citizenship and patriotism. This study seeks to conduct content and narrative analyses of the American Rifleman from 1960 to 2016. The coding scheme is based on Mendelberg (2001) and my analyses of two key sources: Heston’s (2000) and La Pierre’s (2011(1994]) books on behalf of the movement.
Aaron Gottlieb, Jane Addams College of Social Work
The Effect of Public Defense Resources on Racial Disparities in Felony Sentencing Outcomes
The United States’ criminal justice system is overwhelming in scope and characterized by substantial racial disparities. Researchers have demonstrated that a substantial portion of this racial disparity is attributable to differences in criminal case sentencing outcomes. In recent years, scholars and advocates have argued that increasing the resources available to indigent defense has the potential to reduce overall levels of and racial disparities in incarceration but have provided little empirical evidence that supports this contention. In this project, I will fill this gap by exploring whether county level public defense expenditures and caseloads are associated with individual sentencing outcomes and racial disparities in sentencing. To explore these questions, I am creating a new dataset by linking data from the National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems and Census of Public Defender Offices to State Court Processing Statistics data and employ a multilevel modeling approach.
Rahim Kurwa, Criminology, Law, and Justice
Grounds for Eviction: Race, Mobility, and Policing in the Antelope Valley
Using a case study of Black movement to Los Angeles’ Antelope Valley through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, I show how a previously white suburb uses policing to resist racial integration. While social policy has turned towards residential mobility programs like vouchers to replace public housing and combat racial segregation and inequality, the effects of these programs appear smaller than expected. I look to the Antelope Valley to examine, via historical and contemporary qualitative methods, what voucher experiences there might reveal about this process. I find that local residents are widely hostile to voucher renters, with overlapping resentments based on race, gender, and class. Taking advantage of expansive municipal codes, many local residents employ surveillance and policing to evict Black voucher renters and thereby reassert racial segregation. Finally, I document how voucher renters navigate these conditions to avoid eviction and argue that policing must be understood as part of the constellation of forces reproducing racial segregation in the United States.
Jiaqi Liang, Public Administration
Implications of State Governments’ Performance Management for Environmental Justice
Despite the promising efforts focusing on the effect of policy design on race/ethnicity- and income-based environmental equity, the current exploration has not yet incorporated the dimension of organizational management in the public sector or recast this issue in a broader context of contemporary government reforms. Government’s performance management strategy aims to improve organizational effectiveness and enhance democratic accountability. However, rarely do these performance improvement initiatives target social equity as an accountability measure or assign an adequate weight to this policy goal. This project centers on two questions: (1) What is the state of the states in governmental performance management in environmental area in general as well as specifically related to the objective of mitigating environmental inequity? (2) Whether and to what extent state governments’ performance management agenda results in goal trade-off between regulatory effectiveness and social justice in environmental policy implementation?.
Akemi Nishida, Disability and Human Development & Gender and Women’s Studies
Bed Activism: When People of Color are Disabled, Sick, and Incapable
Bed activism is in/activity happening in bed that is resistive against social injustices and visionary in embodying different ways to live. I study bed activism to interrupt the overt notions of capacity attached to people of color (e.g., as laborer), to re-conceptualize the moments of weakness disabled and sick people of color experience, and to diversify the way people engage in activism. I will conduct qualitative interview research to document bed activism engaged in by disabled people of color. The capitalist (profit-centered) underpinning of the current Medicaid is challenged, and I will do so by examining debates over repeal attempts of the Affordable Care Act and the protests against them. I put forward the knowledge from bed activists to critique the status quo of injustice-infused Medicaid and offer their visions to imagine what public healthcare could be to the current protesters.
2018 – 2019 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Sarah Abboud, Women, Children, and Family Health Science
Community Partner: Arab American Family Services
Developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Workshop for Arab Youth in Chicago
Among Arabs, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) are significantly understudied and rarely discussed despite their significant importance in the daily lives of Arabs. The aim of this collaborative project is to increase SRH awareness among Arab youth. We plan to develop a comprehensive SRH educational workshop tailored to the context of Arab youth in Chicago. In four different phases, we will conduct elicitation research using focus groups to develop the content of the workshop. We will test the workshop for feasibility with a sample of Arab youth and seek their suggestions to improve the workshop. Lastly, we will revise and finalize the workshop for future use. All phases will be conducted in close guidance with a youth community advisory board and our community partner, Arab American Family Services.
Andy Clarno, Sociology & African American Studies
Community Partner: The Arab American Action Network & Circles & Ciphers
Surveillance in Chicago: Youth-led Participatory Action Research
We are proposing a partnership to facilitate youth-led participatory action research projects that will examine the strategies and technologies used by local and federal law enforcement agencies for the surveillance of communities of color in the Chicago area. The Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and Circles & Ciphers (C&C) both work with young people of color confronting intense forms of surveillance from local and federal law enforcement agencies. The young people in these organizations want to deepen their understanding of the ways that surveillance operates in different communities of color in Chicago. To do so, they will design and carry out research projects that address concerns raised by members of their respective communities. The UIC Policing in Chicago Research Group (PCRG) will support these projects through research workshops, mentoring, and knowledge/skill sharing
Kate Lowe, Urban Planning and Policy
Community Partner: Slow Roll Chicago
Racialized Transportation Experiences in Chicago and Beyond
Transportation connects people to resources and opportunities for better health, education, earnings, and quality of life. However, transportation access—from hospitals and pharmacies to education, employment and civic meetings—differs across the racially divided City of Chicago. Not only are proximity and transportation access inequitable, people of color disproportionately experience harms from transportation, such as air pollution and pedestrian fatalities. Recently, transportation policy makers and advocates have directed attention to transportation disparities, but the resulting strategies risk reproducing inequities because of inadequate attention to the perspectives of people of color and their diverse experiences. Using qualitative focus groups, this pilot project will engage community residents and organizations in low and moderate income communities of color to redefine transportation equity through a racially informed lens. The pilot is part of larger effort to examine structural racism in contemporary transportation infrastructure, service, and decision-making in partnership with Slow Roll Chicago and Equiticity
Mansha Mirza, Occupational Therapy
Community Partner: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Improving Language Access in Health and Social Services: Research to Action
This project represents a community-academic partnership between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which was created to advocate for language access in public services for immigrants and refugees with Limited English Proficiency(LEP). The project builds on a participatory mixed methods study involving Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Arab Medicaid beneficiaries to identify associations between LEP and Medicaid cancellation for these prevalent immigrant groups in Illinois. We found that individuals with LEP had significantly higher odds of losing Medicaid benefits event after accounting for age, educational status, and time in the US. Our qualitative data highlighted the everyday repercussions of losing benefits. Our project will focus on translating this research evidence to advocacy action. Specific advocacy activities will include: policy briefs, ‘lobby days’ targeting state legislators, and ARISE trainings (Action Research In Support of Equity) at local immigrant and refugee organizations to better enable staff to assist clients with the Medicaid redetermination process, and use research data to guide advocacy efforts.
Christina Welter, Community Health Sciences & Elizabeth Jarpe-Ratner, MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice
Community Partner: Oak Park PTO Diversity Council
Exploring the Landscape and Setting an Agenda: An Environmental Scan Conducted by Oak Park Diversity Council in Partnership with the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice
Oak Park, Illinois is known for its economic affluence, the quality of its schools, and its diversity. Despite this, there has been no known documented collaborative effort that has resulted in sustained movement toward addressing the persistent educational racial disparities. The Oak Park Diversity Council was recently created to support Oak Park school in becoming welcoming, inclusive, and equitable for all families regardless of race, income, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and citizenship. The MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice proposes to aid DivCo and its partners in more deeply understanding the contextual factors, assets, and best practices within Oak Park and in similar school districts across the nation to develop collaborative approaches toward racial equity in education.
2017 - 2018
2017 – 2018 Faculty Fellows
Courtney Bonam, Psychology
Devaluing & Disinvesting in Black Space
Social psychologists have extensively documented Black person stereotypes (hostile, dangerous, poor) and how they shape perceptions and judgments of Black individuals. My work identifies complementary stereotype content focused on Black physical spaces (dilapidated, crime-ridden, failing schools). These generalized stereotypes influence how people perceive and evaluate locales occupied by Black people. I describe four ongoing experiments previously funded by IRRPP to further investigate how space-focused stereotypes lead people to value and invest in primarily Black (vs. White) locales to a lesser extent. One experiment tests a short intervention to 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 or change over time. I expect thinking of places as malleable (vs. stable) will reduce racial stereotyping, which should reduce devaluation of and disinvestment in Black (vs. White) spaces.
Kylea Liese, Mulubrhan Mogos, & Sarah Abboud, Women, Children and Family Health Science
Intrapartum Inequalities: Birth Experiences and Obstetric Interventions among Immigrant Women in Chicago
In response to calls for research documenting how societal racism plays out in health care settings, our multidisciplinary team will use a mixed methods approach to delineate the factors that directly and indirectly impact disparities in perinatal outcomes for immigrant women. With data from de-identified medical records and face-to-face interviews we will compare risk factors and rates of medical interventions between immigrant and non-immigrant women in Chicago, as well as detail birth experiences and perspectives from both providers and patients. Data from this study will be the first step toward developing and testing an intervention at a Chicago hospital to improve the birth experiences and outcomes for immigrant women. This research fills an important knowledge gap in debates surrounding health disparities and racism in healthcare, as well as shapes public policy on how to address the reproductive health care challenges and needs of immigrant and minority women.
Saria Lofton, Health Systems Science
Perspectives Towards Sustainable Urban Agriculture
In the African-American community, urban agriculture can play a significant role in reducing health disparities by providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Understanding past facilitators and barriers in implementing urban agriculture can provide insight into how to make urban agriculture accessible and integrated within the African-American community. In this study, we will identify promoting factors and barriers to long-term sustainability of urban agriculture by examining recent history urban agriculture practices as well as current practices to obtain a comprehensive representation of urban agriculture in Chicago’s predominantly African-American communities. Utilizing Photovoice and historical research methodology, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 30 urban farmers and urban farm developers. We expect to utilize the findings of this preliminary study to develop a future intervention to increase access to fruits and vegetables within the African-American community. We also expect to inform future policy initiatives to promote urban agriculture in Chicago African-American communities.
Kate Lowe, Urban Planning and Policy
Off-Track? The Racial Dimensions of the Modern Streetcar Trend
Transportation enables access to a wide range of essential activities, but the quality of transportation service is uneven by race and ethnicity. Within the realm of public transit specifically, White, non-Latino users are more likely to use relatively speedy service, while people of color disproportionately use slower bus service. Despite a new trend for investment in “modern” streetcars, researchers and policymakers have not considered how public spending on streetcars will impact transportation for people of color or whether latent racism plays a role in streetcar investment. This project will examine streetcars’ transportation impacts for those people of color who rely on public transit, the role of racial bias in transit investment, and how to address racial inequities in public transit service. Findings will speak to broader questions of how people of color and their varied perspectives are or are not included in the transportation systems of 21st century cities.
Patrisia Macías-Rojas, Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies
The Politics of Bed Space: Mass Incarceration and Immigrant Detention in a Post-Civil Rights Era
This project examines historical linkages between the immigration and criminal justice system through an analysis of bed space. Though seemingly benign, beds determine the capacity of the immigration and prison systems. In the immigration system, detention bed capacity directly influences enforcement decisions to detain, deport or to criminally prosecute. In the criminal justice arena, prison beds also play a role in legitimating the current system of mass incarceration. Drawing largely on congressional records and government documents, 1980–present, I examine why the federal government invested in costly beds over the last forty years and the consequences of such policy choices. To analyze the findings, I draw on scholarship on mass incarceration and civil rights in order to foreground the racial politics driving law and order policies that justify prison and detention bed expansion.
Kristine Molina, Psychology
Embodied Transference: Does the Injury of Racial Discrimination Extend Across Person and Over Time?
Racial/ethnic disparities in education, social, and health outcomes for Latino children persist even after accounting for a host of factors. One contributing factor posited to contribute to these disparities is racial discrimination. Emerging research suggests that the injury of racial discrimination may extend across person and over time. Thus, considering that racial discrimination among Latinas remains widespread, their children may be at a significantly increased risk of experiencing the burden associated with their mother’s exposure and impact resulting from racial discrimination. Accordingly, the overall goal of this project is to understand the factors linking Latino mothers’ perceptions of racial discrimination to developmental outcomes among their children.
Lorenzo Perillo, Global Asian Studies
Postcolonial Choreographies: Deciphering Filipino Hip-Hop and Performance
Postcolonial Choreographies explores the messy, often contradictory global flows of resistance by chronicling the history of Hip-Hop dance in the Philippines, which boasts the first Hip-Hop scene in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Drawing on ethnography and choreographic analysis this project chronicles how the experiences of Filipinos demonstrate two gaps in understanding: 1) the significance of dance artists in efforts committed to responding to educational policies and other conditions of displacement in the context of increasing institutionalization and 2) how their responses encourage us to rethink “resistance” typically associated with Hip-Hop. I argue for dance’s critical role in cultural productions, women and gay groups, international competitions, and viral videos intensified by neoliberal policies—overseas labor migration, California’s Prop 209, arts standardization, prisoner rehabilitation—to show Filipino Hip-Hop is not a foregone conclusion of the globalization of American Blackness, but emerges at the intersections of Filipino culture and American empire.
Sultan Tepe, Political Science
Lost and Found Tribe: The Changing Contours of Race in the Muslim Black Movement
Born in Detroit in the early 1930s the Nation of Islam (NOI) is one of the most controversial Muslim groups in the US and beyond. Contrary to the Quran’s insistence on a colorblind society, NOI offers a unique racialized Islam, imbues distinct meanings to race, and consequently forges different policies and alliances. This research situates itself at the intersection of exegetical practices, social construction of race and policy formations that are often treated as distinct fields. Diverging from the common treatment of NOI’s theology and notion of race as rigid, this study seeks to illustrate how the NOI has been constantly redefining its theological underpinnings to gain legitimacy in the eyes of orthodox Islam, broadening its racial coalition, and thus adopting different policies at the national and local level. Drawing on content analysis of the NOI’s texts and audios, participant observations in its community meetings and in-depth interviews with NOI leaders the analysis attempts to answer (i) how the NOI balances its anti-hegemonic arguments and the demands of Islamic discourse, (ii) why it imbues different meanings to race, and (iii) what, if any, unconventional political alliances and policy positions it pursues.
Sarah E. Ullman, Criminology, Law, and Justice
African American Rape Survivors’ in Chicago: Translating Research into Policy
This project will examine previously collected survey and interview data on African American rape survivors in the Chicago metropolitan area in order to enhance policy-relevant knowledge of factors related to their recovery and how services and intervention can be adapted to meet their needs. Barriers and facilitators of help-seeking will be analyzed including social reactions victims receive when telling informal and formal support providers about assault. Findings will be used to develop educational materials for formal support providers and to develop a support network intervention geared to the needs of African American survivors, with attention to economically disadvantaged women who experience stressful life events and low neighborhood resources. Insights from survivors and their informal supports from qualitative interviews will be used to a) develop recommendations for medical, mental health, and criminal justice sources and b) begin the design of a support network intervention to enhance rape survivors’ recovery.
Rachel Weber, Urban Planning and Policy & Federico Waitoller, Special Education
Special Spaces: How Special Education Affects Classroom Utilization, School Closures, and Educational Equity in Chicago
Rationalized as an effort to improve school quality or “right size” facilities to adjust to austerity measures, school closings have become part of the Chicago Public School’s (CPS) reform toolkit. Unfortunately, little is known about how school closings were influenced by or affect students with disabilities, particularly those who are African American and Latino. The proposed project will examine whether the share of students with an Individualized Education Plan and the kinds of disability categories served in a given school increases the likelihood of closure. Moreover, the study will examine whether taking into account the enrollment of students with disabilities alters the role of race in these decisions. The proposed study has the potential to inform future policy decisions in CPS and to draft an “early warning list” of schools that might be in jeopardy during future rounds of restructuring.
2017 – 2018 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Yamile Molina, Community Health Sciences
Community Partner: ALAS-Wings
Developing a Workshop for Policy-Informed Latina Breast Cancer Patients
Latinas experience worse long-term breast cancer outcomes relative to non-Latina Whites, in part due to lack of awareness, access, and uptake of important post-treatment services. Policy solutions exist. Few resources exist to educate Latina breast cancer patients about them. This project will develop a workshop that informs Latinas about policies concerning post-treatment services (i.e., reconstruction, lymphedema care, pain therapy). Dr. Molina and ALAS-Wings will leverage their expertise in an iterative workshop development process through the following activities: 1) collecting formative data from 20 Latina breast cancer patients; 2) developing the workshop; 3) presenting the workshop to obtain feedback from 20 new patients; and, 4) finalizing materials, beginning dissemination, and planning implementation. This project will also serve as a model, overall, for future workshops to communicate equitable policies to those most affected – racial/ethnic minorities.
Dima Qato, Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes, and Policy
Community Partner: The Endeleo Institute
Improving Access to Medications on Chicago’s South Side: A Community-Based Response to Pharmacy Closures
Despite the importance of pharmacies in facilitating access to medications and racial disparities in the use of medications, our most recent research indicates that the vast majority of predominately Black communities on Chicago’s South Side are Pharmacy Deserts. Therefore, pharmacy accessibility may be an overlooked contributor to persistent racial disparities in the use of effective medications. Specifically, recent pharmacy closures in the Washington Heights neighborhood—a South Side community with a disproportionately large older adult population—have prompted this partnership between the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy (Dr. Qato and PharmD students) and The Endeleo Institute, a grass-roots community-based organization serving the Washington Heights community. The goal of this proposed collaborative project is to ensure residents of this aging South Side community have access to essential medications. The primary objective is to develop a community-led response aimed at overcoming the growing public health problem of pharmacy closures. In partnership with The Endeleo Institute, to accomplish our goals and objectives we will implement four key activities. These activities include: 1. Focus group discussions and town hall meetings to identify barriers in accessing medications experienced by community residents since the August 2016 closure of the only two retail pharmacies; 2. In partnership with local entrepreneurs and real estate development businesses, develop a strategic plan to establish a locally-owned pharmacy in the community; 3. Conduct home visits for elderly residents to monitor blood pressure and diabetes control and medication adherence; and 4. Provide transportation or delivery services to/from pharmacies for residents in need.
2016 - 2017
2016 – 2017 Faculty Fellows
Andy Clarno, Sociology & African American Studies
Policing in Chicago: A Workshop in Social Justice Ethnography
This workshop involves an ongoing series of projects carried out by a research team including faculty, students, and community partners. For the first workshop, we analyze intersections between different regimes of racialized policing (criminal, immigration, and national security) that target Black, Latino, Asian, and Arab/Muslim communities in Chicago. While each regime has been studied in isolation, there is little scholarship on the interconnections between the agencies involved; on shared training, tactics, and intelligence; or on the structures of coordination and control. This project explores these connections through a community-engaged project with social movements challenging racialized policing in Chicago. It also contributes to building connections between these movements.
Faith Fletcher, Community Health Sciences
Embodied Inequalities: Unpacking the Impact of Race & Racism on Health
Building on important work documenting extensive health disparities, this project is to collaborate with IRRPP in planning and convening a series of public dialogues exploring why race is so consequential for health outcomes. This will include focusing on a range of topics, such as how race matters for access to healthcare and healthcare delivery, how structural and interpersonal racism impact mental, emotional and physical health, and how scholars, practitioners, and community groups can intervene to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities.
Cedric Johnson, African American Studies & Political Science
The Next Urban Frontier: Race and Real Estate Development in Post-Disaster New Orleans
This research project explores the complex interplay of race, capital and real estate development in post-disaster New Orleans. In particular, it examines the Fauborg Treme, a historic center of Afro-creole culture, and how post-Katrina development in this area effectively unites nostalgia for the parallel black economy and cultural life that once defined Claiborne Avenue, and the broader economic interests of large developers and the tourism industry. This project focuses on one contemporary post-Katrina case of large-scale revitalization that runs adjacent to Treme, the Lafitte Greenway project, a 2.6 mile trail and recreational space stretching through Mid-City from Armstrong Park on the edge of the French Quarter towards City Park.
Nadine Naber, Gender and Women’s Studies & Asian American Studies
This transnational ethnography project looks at connections between feminist activism and state violence in Beirut, Cairo, Chicago, and Detroit. Ending Violence explores the interconnected ways the U.S.-led war on terror seeps into the activist-labor of feminist activists in different locations, expanding the established feminist of color theorization of “the salience of oppressions” (or how particular movements hold race, class, gender, sexuality, or nation, in view to different degrees depending on the context and what is at stake). It calls on feminist scholars and practitioners to re-think the dangerous after-effects of placing feminist concerns on the back burner in moments of extreme state violence and emergency.
Akemi Nishida, Disability and Human Development & Gender and Women’s Studies
Without Care: Critical Disability and Race Analyses of Medicaid Pushout
In this project, the Medicaid pushout phenomenon is investigated through critical disability and race studies perspectives. Medicaid pushout refers to beneficiaries’ services being terminated or drastically decreased. A number of pushout cases were reported during the transition to the managed care program, which accelerated Medicaid’s process of neoliberalization. Anecdotes suggest that this shift reconfigured the disabled beneficiary population: some beneficiaries were pushed out of Medicaid and some sent back to mass institutions, resulting in maximized care industry profits and reduced government Medicaid expenses. A systematic investigation of Medicaid pushout is critical in order to reveal the demographics and life circumstances of those pushed out and the consequences of pushout for the right to receive health care. Demographic information of the pushout population and justifications for their change in benefits will be collected from care agencies and analyzed through the lens of critical race and disability theories.
Laurie Schaffner, Sociology & Gender and Women’s Studies & Criminology, Law, and Justice
Racial Hypersexualization: The Case of Youth in Chicago Involved in a Street Sex Economy
This research explores the ways in which contemporary hypersexualized racializations coincide with young people of color’s participation in the street sex trade for money or other survival needs in Chicago, 2011-2013. Drawing on fieldwork interviews with 177 young people, findings include youth’s clear articulations of their ideas about gender, sexualities, and race as they pertain to their practices. A multiracial critical feminist analysis of fieldwork data reveals how structural forces such as extreme segregation, housing instability, contemporary youth cultural image, and lack of access to symbolic and material resources contribute to their racial hypersexualizations, and thus, their participation in the street sex economy.
Stacey Sutton, Urban Planning and Policy
Spatial Interdependence and the Logic of Shop Succession
Communities are increasingly rejecting the notion that predominantly Black low-income inner city neighborhoods are barren, blighted, and dangerous places that can only be renewed and made desirable by large-scale real estate development and outside capital investment. My book project, Buy Black: Race, Retail and the Politics of Neighborhood Shop Closure, shows how Black small business-owners (or “merchants”), operating in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, resist and reverse disparaging perceptions and racialized meanings inscribed on the neighborhood landscape that could undermine the legitimacy of their enterprises. Through organizing and quotidian practices merchants construct an economic and cultural enclave. This study also describes the frailty of the enclave amid redevelopment planning. That is, we come to understand the commercial corridor as a space through which small business-owners and socio-spatial histories travel and articulate with the city’s development policies and institutional practices. How seemingly mundane and universalistic place-based policies and agency practices affect day-to-day business and enclave sustainability.
2016 – 2017 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies
Community Partner: Proyecto de Acción de las Suburbias del Oeste (P.A.S.O.)
Parent Empowerment Academy
The Parent Empowerment Academy is a joint venture of UIC and P.A.S.0., a community organization serving West Suburban Cook County. The initiative is geared to create, develop and implement a curriculum to train African American and Latino parents to more effectively advocate for their children’s educational needs. We also seek to provide parents with the tools (information and leadership skills) they need to effectively challenge problematic school and district policies as well as to propose and effectively champion policies that can improve the physical, emotional and academic well-being of students. Our main goal is to help P.A.S.O. institutionalize the Parent Empowerment Institute during the 2016-17 academic year and build capacity for P.A.S.O. to run the program independently. We also seek to expand the parent base, promote Black-Latino solidarity, develop leadership among parents, and shape school district policy.
Jennifer Hebert-Beirne, Community Health Sciences
Community Partner: Enlace Chicago
UIC-Little Village Participatory Community Health Assessment
The Little Village Community Health Assessment (LVCHA) was established to be a sustained, student-engaged, reciprocal community-academic partnership with organic community-based leadership for community health assessment (CHA). The goal of the project is to describe, in an ongoing capacity, the community health needs and assets in Chicago’s Little Village, a predominant immigrant community, from a grounded perspective, attending to structural drivers and social determinants of health, using iterative research methods, and producing new knowledge that is shared and disseminated toward action. LVCHA tailored CHA as a social justice vehicle, rejecting reductionist, deficit-oriented, risk-focused CHA. Going forward, LVCHA will focus on authentic knowledge translation of the CHA findings, developing community-specific outputs that both relay findings but also engage community residents in ongoing action towards community health improvement. Potential outputs include innovative social media, place-based art exhibits and tailored messages for church bulletins, community health workers, and parent-teacher groups.
Kevin Lamarr James, Sociology
Community Partner: Village Leadership Academy
Grassroots Campaigns for Social Change
This project is a collaboration between Village Leadership Academy (VLA) and the new UIC Sociology senior Capstone internship program. VLA is a kindergarten to 8th grade school located near UIC, and utilizes global studies curricula and a social justice teaching approach to engage students in uncovering social, political, and economic systems impacting their lives and the lives of others. Through their Grassroots Campaigns (GRCs), each classroom of students from kindergarten to 8th grade develops a social action project to reduce a social problem affecting their community. The two primary goals of the partnership are to support VLA students in their GRCs and establish an ongoing partnership for future student engagement and social action initiatives.
Phoenix Matthews, Health Systems Science
Community Partner: Pride Action Tank, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Chicago Restroom Access Project (CRAP)
Equal access to public restrooms is a social justice issue for trans* and gender non-conforming individuals. Several US cities have passed legislation requiring gender-neutral restrooms. The Chicago Restroom Access Project, a collaboration between UIC, CDPH, and the Pride Action Tank, was established in 2015 with the goal of supporting passage of public policy regarding mandatory conversion of gendered single-stall restrooms to gender-neutral restrooms in Chicago. African American (AA) trans* women are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence. However, these individuals and the broader AA community have not been sufficiently engaged in policy efforts aimed at increasing access to public spaces based on one’s chosen gender identity. The project goal is to increase awareness and engagement, and obtain input on best practices for increasing support for gender neutral restroom acceptability in businesses serving these communities. The ultimate goal is to ensure appropriate engagement of the AA community in future gender-neutral restroom policy initiatives.
Yamile Molina, Community Health Sciences
Community Partner: The Resurrection Project
Developing a Health Civic Engagement Workshop for Latinas
Nationally, and within Chicago, Latinas experience worse breast cancer outcomes relative to non-Latina Whites. Promoting lay participation in policy is a multi-level strategy to address this problem. This project develops a health-related civic engagement workshop that promotes Latinas’ participation in breast health policies. Dr. Molina and The Resurrection Project will leverage their expertise in an iterative workshop development process through the following activities: 1) analyzing formative data to design workshop; 2) presenting preliminary materials to obtain qualitative feedback from 20 Latinas; 3) refining materials based on content analysis of feedback; 4) pilot-testing materials to obtain qualitative data concerning 20 new Latinas’ post-workshop intention to participate in health-related civic engagement; and 5) finalizing materials based on pilot data and developing an implementation plan. This project will result in 1) a population-informed breast health civic engagement workshop for Latinas; and, 2) a submitted manuscript detailing workshop development.
Beth Richie, African American Studies & Criminology, Law, and Justice
Community Partner: Prison Neighborhood Arts Project
Prison Reform and Abolition Project
This project engages the ideas of prisoners at Stateville through a series of lectures and workshops in order to build an agenda for expanding educational opportunities, reforming criminal justice policies, and organizing for the abolition of prisons in Illinois. Given the racial disproportionality and the extreme isolation that characterizes the experience of being in prison, most reform efforts do not reflect the voices of Black people, who are most affected by the problem of mass incarceration. This project centers those voices in policy recommendations and programmatic initiatives designed to reverse the devastating impact of mass incarceration on African American communities.
2015 - 2016
2015 – 2016 Faculty Fellows
Andy Clarno, Sociology & African American Studies
The Empire’s New Walls: The Politics of Enclosure in South Africa and Palestine/Israel
This project is a comparative study of walled enclosures in South Africa and Palestine/Israel that builds on ten years of ethnographic, qualitative, and photographic research in Johannesburg and Jerusalem. The urban landscapes of Johannesburg and Jerusalem are increasingly defined by extreme forms of enclosure. South African elites surround their homes with brick walls and electric fences, put gates around their neighborhoods, and hire private security companies for protection. Meanwhile, the State of Israel is building a series of walls and fences around Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What explains the simultaneous construction of these walled enclosures? And what do they teach us about inequality and insecurity in an era of neoliberal globalization? My research answers these questions through an analysis of political and economic restructuring, the production of marginalized populations, and the politics of security.
Claire Decoteau, Sociology
Autism, the ‘Western Disease’: Epistemic Communities in the Somali Refugee Population
This project examines how communities’ understandings of illness impact their health ideologies and behavior. It contributes to current sociological research which explores how laypeople get involved in and change the course of scientific research and policy. Somali refugee populations suffer from high rates of autism, which is referred to by Somali parents as the ‘Western disease’ because they believe autism does not exist in Somalia. This project examines the ways that groups of Somali parents of children with autism in two national contexts (Minneapolis, MN and Toronto, Canada) have forged epistemic movements to understand and address their children’s health experiences. Unlike most analyses of autism, I explore this topic from a global perspective and ask about the relevance of race, class, and nationality to peoples’ experiences with and explanations of disability. Racial minorities have been underrepresented in the research on autism, and this project seeks to address this bias.
Otima Doyle, Jane Addams College of Social Work
Strengthening the Scientific Basis to Inform Family Policy Decisions Regarding African American Fathers and Father-Focused Programs
The purpose of this project is to: 1) gain a better understanding of how societal and family level supports and challenges influence African American fathering; 2) inform the adaptation/development of father-focused prevention interventions; and 3) inform family policy decisions designed to support positive father involvement. Data used to accomplish these goals are from The Voices ‘n Visions study which is a qualitative study focused on African American fathers’ parenting and visions for prevention interventions. Fathers were recruited from a small Mid-Atlantic city and its surrounding areas based on their sons’ risk for developing depressive symptoms and/or aggressive behaviors. Interviews were primarily conversational with follow up probes based on interview guide topics that were developed a priori. The proposed project is relevant to the public debate regarding the role of fathers in families which began with the Fatherhood Research Initiative and remains relevant to the Healthy Marriage Initiative.
Rohan Jeremiah, Community Health Sciences
Chicago’s Refugee Men’s Health Initiative
In recent years, refugee admission trends have dramatically shifted, reflecting more than half (54%) of all incoming refugees into the USA are now ethnic minority men. However, few research studies have been conducted to understand ethnic minority refugee men’s health needs and well being beyond their initial six-month integration period. The Chicago Taskforce for Refugee and Immigrant Health is in need of understanding ethnic minority refugee men lived experiences, in order to develop health interventions and policies. This proposed Refugee Men’s Health Initiative will explore the pathways by which social exclusion factors among ethnic minority refugee men in Chicago make them an underserved and vulnerable population. The findings will fill a major health disparities research gap, augment current refugee health policies, and justify a need to conduct a longitudinal health study focused on this growing population.
Cedric Johnson, African American Studies & Political Science
Making the Good Times Roll: Working in the New Orleans Tourism-Entertainment Complex
This research project examines the working conditions and contemporary labor struggles within New Orleans’s resurgent, post-Katrina tourism-entertainment complex, and contributes to a longer, critical monograph on the reconstruction of the city titled The City that Care Forgot: New Orleans and American Urbanism. This research project will engage contemporary debates around living wage policy (i.e. the “Fight for 15” campaign and efforts to raise the minimum wage) in New Orleans and beyond, especially since so many post-industrial cities increasingly rely on an expanding tourism and service-based economy for job creation.
Ronak Kapadia, Gender and Women’s Studies
The Afterlife of the PATRIOT Act: Race, Security, and US Warfare
This study asks how contemporary South Asian, Muslim, and Arab American activists and cultural producers have grappled with questions crucial to US national security—including the military’s use of torture, unlawful detention, targeted killings with drones, CIA kidnapping and rendition, and biometric surveillance. At once an examination of the influence of US national security culture (and its permanent wars) on contemporary art and activism, this book project simultaneously examines the struggles over racial and national citizenship for South Asian, Muslim, and Arab American communities before and after the “global war on terror.” Building on and contributing to scholarly frameworks in critical race, postcolonial, queer, feminist, and visual studies, the project analyzes the afterlife of the PATRIOT Act through the transnational networks of knowledge and affiliation forged by these diverse cultural producers. It further argues that these creative and political projects offer an alternative form of knowledge—a resource for policy, activism, and social transformation.
Mansha Mirza, Occupational Therapy
Parents Activated to Research, Educate, Navigate, and Transform Service Systems (PARENTS)
Addressing racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare access is a major thrust of US healthcare policy. There is limited research on this topic with respect to racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare access and utilization for children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN). Optimal care for these children hinges on coordination of care across multiple and fragmented service systems, a responsibility that falls entirely on parent caregivers. Despite their central role in managing their children’s needs, parents receive little preparation or guidance. Low-income African American and Latino parents are especially disadvantaged due to educational and language barriers. There is a critical need for accessible and effective interventions that “activate” these parents to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence in managing, coordinating, and advocating for their child’s healthcare needs. This study proposes to conduct foundational research on this topic with 50 African American and Latino parents of Medicaid-eligible CSHCN using qualitative focus groups and surveys on ownership, access, and utilization of information technology.
Paul Schewe, Criminology, Law and Justice
Bad Breakups: Violence, Stalking and Suicide Related to Adolescents’ Breakups
This project will conduct exploratory research concerning risk and protective factors for violence, stalking, and suicide relating to the ending of adolescents’ romantic relationships. Through an online survey we will learn more about risk and protective factors during the ending of adolescents’ romantic relationships and use this data to develop educational interventions to teach teens healthy ways to end romantic relationships, as well as healthy coping mechanisms. This exploratory research will help to identify key concepts, risk factors, and protective factors. This information will aid us in developing mixed-methods surveys (blending qualitative and quantitative methods) in order to learn more about the scope of risk factors, protective factors, violence, and stalking surrounding teen breakups. Data will be analyzed with special attention to gender identity, age, race, and sexual orientation so that culturally relevant interventions can be developed.
Shannon Zenk, Health Systems Science
Impact of Link Up Illinois Program on Fruit and Vegetable Sales and Access in Chicago’s Farmers Markets: An Opportunity to Improve Minority Health and Reduce Health Disparities
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “LINK” in Illinois) provides low-income households with a financial benefit to obtain food. 37.9% of SNAP participants are Black or Hispanic. However, many neighborhoods where Blacks and Hispanics live have poor access to healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets are a promising strategy to increase fruit and vegetable access, and policies that incentivize SNAP benefits spending at farmers markets may improve SNAP participants’ access to them and ultimately fruits and vegetables. Using a quasi-experimental design, Aim 1 of this study will determine the impact of LINK Up Illinois, a program that doubles the value of LINK/SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers markets, on SNAP/LINK fruit and vegetable sales in Chicago farmers markets overall and by neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. Using a cross-sectional design, Aim 2 will determine whether fruit and vegetable selection and prices at farmers markets vary by neighborhood racial/ethnic composition and LINK Up Illinois acceptance status.
2015 – 2016 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Rachel Caidor, Campus Advocacy Network
Community Partner: Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander (now Love & Protect)
Erasing the Perfect Victim Narrative—A Gathering
This project is for the UIC Women’s Leadership and Resource Center / Campus Advocacy Network and Love and Protect to develop and host a one-day convening in Chicago of statewide domestic violence and sexual assault organizations and service providers to address and challenge the concepts of recognizable victims, perfect victims, and perceived perpetrators and the role those concepts play in the criminalization and isolation of violence survivors. Participants, organizers, and grassroots organizations will explore what services are necessary to support those who have been criminalized for self-defense. The conversations and methods generated in the convening will be compiled to create a toolkit that will bridge the gap between grassroots organizers / defense committees and national organizations so that those groups can work in partnership in support of “imperfect victims” criminalized for defending themselves. The toolkit will also provide foundational language that moves beyond problematic “ideal victim” narratives.
Lisa Frohman, Criminology, Law and Justice
Community Partner: Chicago Black Women’s Lives Matter
Queer and Critical Criminology and Engaged Student Activism
This project would build on the momentum of local organizing lead by BYP100, Black Lives Matter, We Charge Genocide, Chicago Free Marissa Campaign, COV4 and The Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project by bringing UIC students who are interested in the nexus between activism and queer criminology into conversation. The goals would be twofold: 1) to build the presence of these organizing efforts together on campus whereby students can get involved in the work going on in Chicago linking it to feminist principles and 2) to use this particular political moment to create an academic focus in Criminology, Law and Justice that supports and encouraged the study of critical and queer criminology and its utility in policy debates that the groups are engaged in. The activities would include a youth led feminist conference on campus and a graduate concentration.
Chang-ming Hsieh, Jane Addams College of Social Work
Community Partner: Chinese American Service League
Ensuring Quality of Social Services for Older Adults
The Chinese American Service League (CASL) is the largest, most comprehensive social service agency in the Midwest dedicated to serving the needs of Chinese Americans. CASL provides vital in-home services for older adults that enable them to live independently in their own homes and communities. This project will update CASL’s client satisfaction survey by: 1) developing a psychometrically sound client satisfaction measure (in both English and Chinese) that is client-centered and can offer concrete feedback for service improvement for in-home services; 2) utilize concrete client satisfaction feedback data to make service improvement recommendations; and 3) disseminate annual client satisfaction survey results and service improvement recommendations to home care aids and clients of CASL’s in-home services so home care aids are informed of client feedback. Through this project, CASL will obtain necessary tools and knowledge to use a client-centered approach to monitor and evaluate its performance in the future.
Nadine Naber, Gender and Women’s Studies
Community Partner: Arab American Action Network
Steadfast Communities: Sustaining the Arab Women’s Committee
The Arab Women’s Committee (AWC), a subcommittee of the Arab American Action Network/AAAN), provides services in Chicago to a base of 600 immigrant and refugee women who are recent arrivals to the United States from Arabic speaking countries—especially countries facing intensive military conflicts such as Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. In spring of 2015, the AWC will face a major transition. Their director for the past ten years, Rasmea Odeh, will be transitioning from her position. This project will collaborate with the AWC in order to transition into a new period at the same level of success and growth. Specifically, this project will produce a community-based publication, entitled “Vibrant Organizing: Strategies for the AWC,” that will allow AWC to institutionalize Rasmea Odeh’s skills in directing, managing, programming, and mobilizing constituents. This project will also produce a study, entitled “Vibrant Organizing: Resources and Support,” that will allow AWC and AAAN to determine the funding and resources needed to maintain the AWC at the same level of success. This project will organize a year of programming entitled “Steadfast Communities!” that will allow AWC to remain lively, welcoming, beneficial, and exciting to its constituents during the period of transition.
Barbara Ransby, Gender and Women Studies
Community Partner: Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Selma to Ferguson
This intergenerational project is a planning effort between university-based and community-based partners to convene a national conference at UIC entitled “Selma to Ferguson” involving scholars, artists, activists and high school teachers to be held in September 2015. The purpose is to challenge historical memory about the struggles of 1965 and extract lessons and insights for contemporary social change agents working on issues of police accountability, restorative justice, economic justice, civic engagement, and education. This project will include a website and social media project designed to facilitate lively pre-conference interactions in order to maximize the work attendees can do once they are in the same space in the fall.
Laurie Jo Reynolds, Art and Art History
Community Partner: Tamms Year Ten
Honey Bun Comedy Hour
The Honey Bun Comedy Hour (HBCH) is a media and advocacy project written by currently and formerly incarcerated people, their family members, advocates, and prison monitors to re-enact real and imagined scenes from the Illinois criminal justice system. It will depict the horror, boredom, and small mercies of prison life. Each short video will highlight some minor catastrophe of thought, action, or policy that together illustrate an abysmal decade of criminal justice policies. The project represents a new stage in organizing by and with family members of long-term prisoners, and will advance the policy goals of Tamms Year Ten and other advocacy groups in changing prison policies as well as launching a systemic critique. HBCH media will be used in targeted advocacy campaigns as well as artistic and cultural contexts, and will give family members, decision-makers, and the public the opportunity to reflect on Illinois prison policies and change them.
Jane Rhodes, African American Studies
Community Partner: Prison Neighborhood Art Project
American Studies at Stateville Prison: Building Political Education
This project will establish an interdisciplinary community initiative between African American Studies and the Prison Neighborhood Arts Program to offer educational opportunities to people incarcerated at Stateville Prison. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to facilitate discussions, provide guest lectures and teach semester-long courses on subjects related to African American and Diasporic Studies, feminist and queer studies, social movement history and other topics of interest to students at Stateville enrolled in PNAP. The project will include a bi-weekly seminar held on the outside to reflect on the work inside and to develop strategies for policy reform related to mass criminalization, expanding educational access, and social justice organizing on behalf of people incarcerated in Illinois.
Federico Waitoller, Special Education
Community Partner: Equip for Equality
Examining the Experiences of Black and Latino Parents/Guardians of Students Receiving Special Education in Charter Schools
This project will conduct a qualitative study to understand the experiences of Black and Latin@ parents and guardians of students receiving special education who attend or wish to attend a charter school. The results of this study will be published in a report and will include recommendations for advocacy and policy efforts aimed at improving the learning opportunities of Black and Latin@ students with Individual Educational Plans. This report will give EFE, other advocacy organizations, and policy leaders insights about how parents learn about, choose, and enroll their children in charter schools as well as the issues they experience once receiving special education services in charter schools. These insights will be used by EFE to target and improve its advocacy efforts, tools and supports for Black and Latin@ families of students in special education. The study will amplify individual parent voices and concerns by bringing their collective stories together to ignite policy responses. The report will bring further public awareness and support to EFE’s current efforts to improve special education in charter schools.
2014 - 2015
2014 – 2015 Faculty Fellows & Faculty Scholars
Xochitl Bada, Latin American and Latino Studies
Consular and Civil Society Strategies for Improving Enforcement of Labor Standards for Latino Immigrants
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 proactive role in advocating for the rights of its citizens in the United States.
Courtney Bonam, Psychology
Devaluing & Disinvesting in Black Space
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.
Aerika Brittian, Educational Psychology
Racial and Ethnic Socialization in the Context of Urban Youth Organizations
How do urban youth organizations address the cultural needs and experiences of youth of color? Identity formation is widely acknowledged as an important aspect of adolescent development. In an urban setting, ethnic minority (e.g., African American and Latino) youths’ identity development may be impacted negatively by environmental stressors (e.g., ethnic segregation, poverty, community violence, and negative race-related experiences). Youth-serving organizations (YO) are one contextual factor that provides critically valuable support in terms of youth development in this particular social context. Although a central goal of many YOs is to facilitate positive identity development, such as understanding one’s place in varying social contexts, the extent to wich urban YOs address the cultural needs and experiences of ethnic minority adolescents is unkown. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate how urban YOs socialize ethnic minority adolescents around race and ethnicity. As discussed in this application, widespread implications of this work include recommendations for funding youth organizations who served ethnic minority populations, cultural-relevance of youth organizations in ethnic minority communities, and program evaluation.
Claire Decoteau, Sociology
The Western Disease: The Enigma of Autism Within the Somali Refugee Population
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.
Alexandra Filindra, Political Science
The Role of Racial Prejudice in Whites’ Gun Policy Preferences
This project seeks to study the role that racial/out-group prejudice plays in shaping whites’ gun policy preferences. We develop a new theory suggesting that prejudiced whites will oppose gun control. Although there is accumulating evidence that racism and nativism significantly contributes to white Americans’ attitudes toward immigration, welfare, crime, or the criminal justice system and the punishment of offenders, there is scant research on the role of out-group prejudice in shaping whites’ gun policy preferences.
Faith Fletcher, Community Health Sciences
Improving the Delivery of Cervical Cancer Screening Services to Disadvantaged Women Living with HIV/AIDS
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.
Jennifer Herbert-Beirne, Community Health Sciences
Little Village Participatory Community Assessment
Community Health Assessment, one of three core public health functions, is a means of identifying and describing community health problems, gaps and strengths to improve the health of the community. Despite increased interest in immigration and health and rapid demographic change in urban communities like Chicago, current community health assessment tools fail to capture the immigrant experience on community health. This proposal describes a UIC multidisciplinary research team-lead, student-engaged, community-academic partership’s community health assessment in one Chicago community area, South Lawndale, or “Little Village”, to better understand immigrant community health issues.
Maria Krysan, Institute for Government and Public Affairs & Sociology
Choosing Integration: An Analysis of Housing Searches Assisted by the Oak Park Regional Housing Center
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 centers throughout 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.
Maria Krysan, Institute for Government and Public Affairs & Sociology
Legacy Effects: Racial Dynamics and the Perpetuation of Segregation
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.
Kelly LeRoux, Public Administration
Racial Diversity and Performance of the Charitable Sector
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.
Nadine Naber, Gender and Women’s Studies
Bread, Dignity, and Gender Justice: Women and the Egyptian Revolution of 2011
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.
Sekile Nzinga-Johnson, Gender and Women’s Studies
Lean Semesters: The Working Lives of Women of Color Contingent Faculty
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.
Elizabeth Todd-Breland, History
A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Post-Civil Rights Change
A Political Education is the story of how black activists, educators, parents and education reformers navigated, challenged, and at times contributed to, the urban political and educational landscape as it transformed from the liberal integrationist politics of the mid-twentieth century to the neoliberal politics of the late twentieth century. A Political Education foregrounds an analysis of the history of racial politics and education reform policies from the 1954 Brown v. Board decision to the present, in order to reorient current policy debates towards demands for racial and economic justice.
2014 – 2015 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Anna Guevarra, Asian American Studies
Community Partner: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment
Community Building, Building Community: Filipinos and the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
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.
Elena Gutierrez, Gender and Women’s Studies
Community Partner: Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
Reproductive Justice Virtual Library (with a Focus on Youth)
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.
Dima Qato, Pharmacy
Community Partner: Arab American Action Network
A Community Based Approach to Promote the Safe and Effective Use of Medications Among Arab American Women in Chicago
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.
Rachel Weber, Great Cities Institute
Community Partner: Blocks Together
Participatory Budgeting Chicago TIF Tool Kit
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.
2013 - 2014
2013 – 2014 Faculty Fellows & Faculty Scholars
Gregory V. Larnell, Curriculum and Instruction
UIC-REMATH: Investigating the Mathematic Learning Experiences of Students Enrolled in Remediation Courses at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Henrika McCoy, College of Social Work
Strengthening the Argument to Change Sentencing Practices for Juvenile Offenders with Mental Health Needs
Brenda Parker, Urban Planning and Policy
Life’s Work in Chicago: Gender, Race, Inequality and Household Provisioning
Stephanie Riger, Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies
Domestic Violence Outcome Measures Project
Federico Waitoller, Special Education
Access, Inclusion, and Outcomes of Minority Special Education Students in Chicago Charter Schools
Shannon Zenk, College of Nursing
Activity Space Segregation and Access to Health Resources
2013 – 2014 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Jennifer Brier, Gender & Women’s Studies
Community Partner: Chicago Freedom School and Read/Write Library
Not in the Yearbooks: A Digital Collaboration Between History Moves, The Chicago Freedom School, and the Read/Write Library
Maria Krysan, Institute for Government & Public Affairs, and Sociology
Community Partner: Oak Park Regional Housing Center
Welcome Home: Addressing the Housing Crisis with an Integrative Model
Angela Odoms-Young, Kinesiology and Nutrition
Community Partner: Inner-City Muslim Action Network
“Muslim Run”: Developing a Curriculum to Improve Healthy Food Options in Small Arab-American Owned Stores in African American Communities
2012 - 2013
2012 – 2013 Faculty Fellows & Faculty Scholars
Valerie Borum, Social Work
Understanding the Social-Cultural Role of Ethnic Culture as a Protective and Promotive Factor Against Suicide in African American Women
Andy Clarno, Sociology/African American Studies
The Empire’s New Walls: The Politics of Enclosure in South Africa and Palestine/Israel
Sharon Collins, Sociology
The New Black Corporate Executive: Assimilated Insiders, Diversity Managers, and Race Wo/men
Claire Decoteau, Sociology
Ukuphanta/Getting By: South African Women in the Informal Economy
Miriam Ezenwa, Nursing
Mayday for Pain: Public Discourse and Advocacy for Change
Lorena Garcia, Sociology/Gender and Women’s Studies
Partnering and Parenting Among the Newly Latina/o Middle Class
Carmen Giurgescu, Nursing
Green Spaces, Psychological Stress, and Preterm Birth in Pregnant African American Women
Marisha Humphries, Educational Psychology & Cassandra McKay, Social Work
Developing Multidisciplinary Pre-Service Training as an Integrated Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Christine Martin, Criminology, Law & Justice
The Impact of Race and Ethnicity on Points of Release from the Juvenile Justice System
Bharati Prasad, Nursing
Comparative Effectiveness Research to Enhance Outcomes in African Americans with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Gayatri Reddy, Anthropology/Gender & Women’s Studies
The “African” Diaspora in India: Exploration of Race, Masculinity, and Class Politics in Contemporary Hyderabad
Paul Schewe, Criminology, Law, and Justice & Alicia Matthews, Nursing
Effects of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation on Experience of Hate Crimes in Chicago
Federico Waitoller, Special Education
Equity in Inclusive Education
Shannon Zenk, Nursing
Disparities in Diet and Depression: A Test of Jackson’s Hypothesis in a Multiethnic Urban Sample.
Zitlali Morales, Curriculum and Instruction and Victoria Triner, Curriculum and Instruction
The Language Ideologies of Teachers Serving Linguistically Diverse Learners
2012 – 2013 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Sabine French, Psychology
Community Partner: Roseland Pullman Boys & Girls Club
SMART Girls Program
Pauline Lipman, Educational & Policy Studies
Community Partner: Kenwood Oakland Community Organization
Collaborative Research for Education Justice in Chicago
2012 – 2013 Visiting Scholar
Patrisia Macias, Sociology
Sarah Lawrence College
Professor Macías-Rojas is a member of the sociology faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Her research interests are in the area of race, migration, and the law. She is currently writing her first book, Laws of Exclusion: Criminalizing Immigrants in the Post-civil Rights Era. The work investigates the convergence of immigration and criminal law within U.S.-Mexico border enforcement and traces this convergence to the rights revolution of the 1960s when the formal recognition of rights for migrants led to a greater intersection between immigration and crime control. Dr. Macías-Rojas is the recipient of grants and fellowships from cthe National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andrew Mellon Program in Latin American Sociology, Social Science Research Council, and Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California-Berkeley. Prior to earning her doctorate in sociology at UC Berkeley, she was trained as a community organizer at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO) in Oakland, CA. She is a native of the Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside.
2011 - 2012
2011 – 2012 Faculty Fellows & Faculty Scholars
Phil Ashton, Urban Planning & Policy & Ralph Cintron, English & Latin American & Latino Studies
Captive Labor, Mobile Capital and Migrant Lives: Remittances as Global Commodities
Remittances, or person-to-person money transfers, are a common and an important part of many immigrants’ lives. The purpose of this project to understand how the remittance industry is organized and how it is related to racialized regimes of labor migration. We focused our study on the Western Union company, reviewing financial statements, administrative documents, and trade press as well as conducting interviews with business people and activists.
Suarez Balcazar, College of Applied Health Science
Obesity Among Latino & African American Youth: An Ecological & Cultural Perspective
Sabine French, Psychology
Racial Socialization and Biracial Identity Development in Mixed-Race Families
This project interviewed biracial teens and their families to examine the relationship between their parents’ discussion of race/ethnicity and the teens’ development and expression of racial-ethnic identity. Six families in total were interviewed at the end of the project.
Anna Guevarra, Sociology
Collective Historicizing with Filipino Communities in Chicago
What factors influence civic engagement among Chicago Filipinos in Chicago, and how does their definition of community issues shape the forms of engagement they use to address those issues? The project examined “collective historicizing workshops” held by my partner organization, in which community members used storytelling to understand and organize around immigration issues. The project involved videotaping three workshops and conducting in-depth interviews and participant observations of the organization’s activities.
Matthew Hall, Sociology
Immigration and Residential Sorting in New Destinations
This project set out to research what the residential consequences of immigration into “new” immigrant destinations are (i.e., cities, suburbs, and town with little prior history of immigration)?
Claudia Hernandez, Dermatology
Assessing Outcomes of a Melanoma Training Module for Medical Residents
Medical professionals often misdiagnose melanoma in African Americans. This project examines whether an educational module can improve medical residents’ ability to correctly respond to an atypical skin lesion. We used standardized patients—actors trained to portray a case—to assess the ability of residents to detect an atypical skin lesion.
Pamela Quiroz, Educational Policy Studies
Marketing Diversity and the ‘New’ Politics of Desegregation: An Urban Education Ethnography
2011 – 2012 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Ralph Cintrón, English, Latin American & Latino Studies
Community Partner: The Puerto Rican Agenda
The Puerto Rican Action Project
The Puerto Rican Agenda is carrying out an intensive community research and census demographic study to investigate the current state of the Puerto Rican community sixty years after Puerto Ricans first began migrating to the Chicago Metro Area.
Lisa Junkin, Jane Addams Hull House Museum
Community Partner: Conservative Vice Lords members
Museum of the Streets: A Visual History of the Conservative Vice Lords, 1966-70
In the late 1960s, gang members in North Lawndale decided to make a change and enter the civic arena. With funding from major foundations, they organized youth, protested unfair housing policies and working conditions, and opened small businesses. They called themselves Conservative Vice Lords, Inc. In the 1960s, many people doubted their intentions. What would persuade gang members to change? Were the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL) a front for drugs or other illegal activity? Can a gang become a force for positive community change? Today, we might ask: What is the potential of gang members to bring peace to the streets of neighborhoods like North Lawndale, which has the highest murder rate of any community in Illinois?
Angela Odoms-Young, Kinesiology
Community Partners: Greater Englewood Health Start Initiative & the Chicago Department of Public Health Englewood Neighborhood Health Center
‘When we Have Better, We Can do Better’: Building Community Capacity to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Women and their Families
The focus of this project is to collaborate on a culturally appropriate, community-focused curriculum for lay nutrition educators. This curriculum will address strategies for improving dietary behaviors, addressing risk factors for poor nutrition in pregnant, postpartum, and women of childbearing age (ages 15 to 44) and their families, and building the nutrition capacity of residents in the Englewood and West Englewood communities.
2011 – 2012 Visiting Scholar
Erica Meiners, Education and Gender and Women’s Studies
Northeastern Illinois University
2010 - 2011
2010 – 2011 Faculty Fellows & Faculty Scholars
Xóchitl Bada, Latin American and Latino Studies
Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From Philanthropy to Transnational Civic Engagement
Alan Dettlaff, Social Work
Alicia Matthews, Nursing
Culturally Targeted Smoking Cessation for HIV-positive Men who Have Sex with Men
Christopher Miller, Educational Policy Studies
Closing or Widening the Gap?: Science Education Under No Child Left Behind
Amalia Pallares, Latin American and Latino Studies/Political Science
What’s Next? Challenges to Latino Political Engagement after the Groundbreaking 2006 Immigration Marches and 2008 Election
Brenda Parker, Urban Planning & Policy
Sex and the City: Gendering Neoliberalism
2010 – 2011 Policy & Social Engagement Fellows
Ruth Gomberg Muñoz, Anthropology, Loyola University
Community Partner: Chicago Community and Workersʼ Rights
The Community Defense Project
Laurie Schaffner, Sociology
Community Partner: Project Nia
Project: Girl Talk