Race in Contemporary Politics
The killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests have highlighted systemic mistreatment of racial minorities, especially members of the black community, by police. More broadly, the protests have called national attention to disparities in educational, housing, and job opportunities, income mobility, and access to voting that have deep ramifications for our society, and in particular, for our politics.
The Department of Political Science supports the position of the University of Rochester, described in the June 8 letter by President Mangelsdorf and Vice President Fernández, and it backs the initiatives proposed in that letter. As a department within the University, we can do our part by promoting an environment of inclusivity and fairness, and by applying the tools of political science to try to understand the nature and consequences of systemic racism in American politics, and in studying problems of race and ethnic politics globally.
Our faculty are actively engaged in research and teaching that address these issues. If you are a current student at the University of Rochester, or if you are interested in receiving an education in political science at the University of Rochester, please visit our faculty websites and our course list. For courses specifically related to race and ethnic politics, you may want to consider:
- INTR 205 Global Sustainable Development: Policy and Practice
- PSCI 216 Environmental Health and Justice in the Rochester Community
- PSCI 224 Incarceration Nation
- PSCI 225 Cultural Politics of Prison Towns
- PSCI 226 Act Locally? Local Government in the U.S.
- PSCI 228 Race, Ethnicity, and American Politics
- PSCI 233W Innovation in Public Service
- PSCI 240 Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Principles
- PSCI 241 Urban Change and City Politics
- PSCI 248 Discrimination
- PSCI 252 Ethnic Politics
- PSCI/INTR 255 Poverty and Development
- PSCI 267 Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
- PSCI 290 Unequal Development and State Policy: Brazil, the U.S., and Nigeria
- PSCI 294 Political Economy of African-American Communities
- PSCI 304 Urban Crime and Justice
- PSCI 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
For those interested in learning more about the history and role of race in American politics, the following list contains recommendations for starting points:
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
- “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic
- Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, James Forman
- The Loud Minority: Why Protests Matter in American Democracy, Daniel Gillion
- When Affirmative Action was White, Ira Katznelson
- Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State, Megan Ming Francis
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein
- The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, Tom Sugrue
We would also direct your attention to the first installment of Stanford's ongoing series, Race and Criminal Justice System: Where Do We Go from Here? For those who want to delve further into the academic literature on policing, we recommend consulting "Further Reading on the Politics of Policing, Protest, and Criminal Justice," compiled by Professor Mayya Komisarchik, which contains a reading list of articles and books organized by topic.
Finally, please consider responding to our survey of interest in a virtual roundtable discussion, hosted by the Rochester Political Science Department, on policing, protests, criminal justice, and reform.