Doing Race

| September 29, 2010

With the goal of illuminating our trouble in talking about race, Stanford University professors Hazel Markus and Paula Moya, of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity,  conducted an engaging talk drawn from their newly published volume Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century (W.W. Norton, Inc., 2010). Their acclaimed, edited work begins with a conceptual overview of race and ethnicity as they fit into our everyday lives— what they are, how they work, why achieving a just society requires us to take account of them. It includes short reader-friendly essays from an interdisciplinary body of experts on race and ethnicity, among them: C. Matthew Snipp, George Frederickson, Marcus Feldman, Barbara Koenig, Aron Rodrigue, Joel Beinin, Norman Naimark, Shanto Iyengar, Albert Camarillo, Linda Darling-Hammond, Lawrence Bobo, Victor Thompson, Claude Steele, Monica McDermott, Jennifer Eberhardt, Stephanie Fryberg, Alisha Watts, Marcyliena Morgan, Dawn-Elissa Fischer, and Michelle and Harry J. Elam. Professors Markus and Moya focused on eight common conversations about race and ethnicity and discussed why these popular conversations are flawed or incomplete; they also reflected on the importance of understanding race and ethnicity as intricate systems of human actions and interactions that organize, influence, and govern our human societies.

Writes Henry Louis Gates Jr., of Harvard University:

Hazel Markus and Paula Moya have assembled an all-star roster of scholars to put to rest, once and for all, the fallacy that race doesn’t matter. This volume is absolutely necessary and will fast become a landmark of scholarship on race and ethnicity.

Hazel Rose Markus is Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, at Stanford University. Previously, she was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan and a research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She was the recipient of the 2008 American Psychological Association award for distinguished scientific contribution. In 2002 she received the Donald T. Campbell award from SPSP for contributions to social psychology. She just completed a term as Director of Stanford’s Research Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Paula M.L. Moya is Associate Professor of the Department of English at Stanford University. She served as Director of the Undergraduate Program of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), and Chair of the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) major. She is a founding organizer of The Future of Minority Studies Research Project (FMS), an inter-institutional, interdisciplinary, and multigenerational research project facilitating focused and productive discussions about the democratizing role of minority identity and participation in a multicultural society. At Stanford, she has been the faculty coordinator of several faculty-graduate student research networks sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center and the Research Institute for the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. They include Feminist Theory, Americanity/Coloniality/Modernity, and How Do Identities Matter?

Dr. Dorothy Steele, previous Executive Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity,  introduced our esteemed guests and discussed the important work of the Stanford Center. Dr. Steele relocated to New York City with her husband, Claude Steele, a social psychology professor who became Provost of Columbia University in September 2009. Welcoming our attendees was Dr. Janice Robinson, Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, and Dr. Thomas James, Provost and Dean of Teachers College, who reflected on the alignment of the publication with diversity initiatives at Teachers College.

This talk was jointly sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs; Office of the Provost, and Gottesman Libraries.

Referencing the Book Talk:  Doing Race , Thursday, 9/16, 4-5:30pm