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New Reports Reveal the Realities of Race in America

Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities

Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities

In the United States today, one in seven young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 is disconnected—neither working nor in school. That’s 5,527,000 Americans, about as many people as live in Minnesota. Youth disconnection negatively affects the economy, the social sector, the criminal justice system, and the political landscape, costing taxpayers at least $26.8 billion in 2013 alone. Zeroing In on Place and Race [PDF available], the latest from Measure of America, is an in-depth look at how these youth are faring in America’s cities, with breakdowns by state, congressional district, county, gender, and race and ethnicity. The report uncovers startling geographic variations in the rate of disconnection and evidence that residential segregation by race disproportionately harms black teenagers and young adults. In response, the New York Times editorial board called for action to reduce residential segregation and increase public investment in elementary and secondary education and other support, and in a New York Times opinion piece, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri announced a $30 million initiative to help young people enter and advance in the workforce. Coauthors Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps provided an overview of the report’s findings for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, suggesting cost-effective instruments for reconnecting young people as well as long-term preventative solutions.

Impact of the US Housing Crisis on the Racial Wealth Gap Across Generations

Impact of the US Housing Crisis on the Racial Wealth Gap Across Generations

Residential inequalities resonate beyond youth disconnection. An independent SSRC report commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union analyzes the effects of the Great Recession on the racial wealth gap among homeowning families in order to identify racially disparate trends and extrapolate their effects on future generations. Coauthored by Measure of America codirector Sarah Burd-Sharps and former senior project manager Rebecca Rasch, Impact of the US Housing Crisis on the Racial Wealth Gap Across Generations [PDF available] draws on a unique dataset to reveal a tale of two recoveries: among families that owned homes, white households have started to rebound while black households are still struggling to make up lost ground. Unequal opportunity to rebuild wealth coming out of the crisis is leading to widening racial disparities. The racial wealth gap, in other words, is now on track to compound over time. This trend has urgent implications for the future of racial justice in America, and it should inform policymaking strategies aimed at guaranteeing fair economic opportunities in the coming years. ACLU Racial Justice Program director Dennis Parker shared his family’s progress over generations in reflecting on the implications of the report for the Huffington Post.

In Council News

Publisher Sara Miller McCune has established The SAGE Fund for Research Methods at the SSRC, a $3 million endowment to support scholarly evaluation and monitoring of research methodologies and promote the development of new social science tools and styles of investigation.

The Decent City initiative cohosted an international debate on “The Possible City” in Barcelona, Spain, with the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Sessions included “What Is a Decent City? Polarities of Pragmatism and Utopia,” with SSRC president Ira Katznelson and sociologist Richard Sennett, and “The Possible City: From Urban Planning to Democracy,” with SSRC board member Teresa Caldeira and urban design and studies scholars Richard Burdett and Diane Davis [video available].

In partnership with the SSRC, the American Civil Liberties Union published a study demonstrating how nuisance laws deter the reporting of crime and further victimize vulnerable people, in particular domestic violence survivors: Silenced: How Nuisance Ordinances Punish Crime Victims in New York [PDF available].

The African Peacebuilding Network released a policy brief on “Nigeria’s 2015 Elections: Lessons and Prospects for Democratic Consolidation” [PDF available]. APN director Cyril Obi, who hails from Nigeria, appeared on Sahara TV, a broadcast outlet of the New York–based Sahara Reporters, to discuss the historic inauguration of the new Nigerian president [video], and in a policy statement for the South African Institute of International Affairs, offered insights on the potential benefits of a reinvigorated Nigerian–South African partnership.

Tatiana Carayannis, deputy director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, coedited Making Sense of the Central African Republic, now available in the United Kingdom from Zed Books (US release August 15), contributing a chapter on “CAR’s Southern Identity: Congo, CAR, and International Justice.”

Seteney Shami, director of the InterAsia Program and the Middle East and North Africa Program, discussed her experience shaping collaborative research beyond borders at the SSRC and as founding director of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences in an interview for the journal New Perspectives on Turkey: “Social Sciences in the Middle East: Community Building in an Embattled Region.”

Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project director Leon Sigal lent his expertise in a Korea Times article that collected the responses of US experts to reports of a North Korean test-fire of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and writing for the National Interest, challenged assumptions by many in Washington that further arming by Pyongyang is a foregone conclusion.

The Education Research Program volumes Academically Adrift and Aspiring Adults Adrift provided context for a New York Review of Books piece on inequality in higher education, and David Brooks drew on Aspiring Adults Adrift in a New York Times op-ed, “How Adulthood Happens.” Program director Richard Arum and Aspiring Adults Adrift coauthor Josipa Roksa reviewed their findings in an interview with Radio Higher Ed, a podcast on postsecondary education policy.

New fellow cohorts have been announced for 2015: The Drugs, Security and Democracy Program has awarded dissertation and postdoctoral fellowships to international scholars for five policy-relevant research projects in English, Portuguese, and Spanish on the primary theme of drugs in Latin America or the Caribbean. The International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program selected eighty fellows from thirty-four institutions and across fifteen disciplines in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to pursue projects that advance knowledge about non-US cultures and societies.

Drugs, Security and Democracy fellow Javier Osorio (2011) was awarded the top prize in the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime’s Fourth International Thesis Competition on Victimization, Crime and Justice in Latin America for his DSD-supported dissertation “Hobbes on Drugs: Understanding Drug Violence in Mexico.”

Drugs, Security and Democracy and International Dissertation Research Fellowship fellow Alex Fattal (2012 and 2009) received the 2015 Martin Diskin Memorial Dissertation Award from the Latin American Studies Association and Oxfam America in recognition of his creative combination of activism and scholarship.

Working papers presented at “Pushing the Boundaries of Migration Studies: Perspectives from the US and France,” a conference cosponsored by the Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program with Harvard University’s Transnational Studies Initiative, are now available online, featuring contributions by DPDF fellows Anne Bouhali (2012), Matthieu Mazzega (2010), Josepha Milazzo (2012), Guillaume T. Ma Mung (2010), Sihé Néya (2012), Cynthia Salloum (2011), and Evren Yalaz (2010).

A number of other fellows have also recently published work developed from their fellowship research. Abe fellow Mary Alice Haddad (2009) coedited and authored a chapter as well as the conclusion for NIMBY Is Beautiful: Cases of Local Activism and Environmental Innovation around the World (Berghahn Books), based on her project on “Environmental Politics and Civic Participation in East Asia.” African Peacebuilding Network Individual Research grantee Amy Niang (2013) wrote on “Ransoming, Compensatory Violence, and Humanitarianism in the Sahel” for the journal Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. And Drugs, Security and Democracy fellow Erika M. Robb Larkins (2013) drew on her ethnographic research in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, to show how favela violence is produced as a marketable global brand in The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil (University of California Press).

From Our Forums

At Kujenga Amani, Martha Mutisi describes how the UN Force Intervention Brigade has transformed the peacekeeping landscape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dan Kuwali suggests a soft-power approach to extremism in Africa, while Cheryl Hendricks and Rachel Sittoni view gender, peace, and security through a terrorism lens. Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Doctoral Dissertation Completion and Research fellow Ngozi Ugo Emeka-Nwobia (2013 and 2012) looks at the conflict-resolution role played by Igbo women in Nigeria.

At The Immanent Frame, a new series engages a wide range of scholars of history, law, literature, philosophy, politics, and religion around Samuel Moyn’s forthcoming book, Christian Human Rights, which relates the crystallizing moment of Christian affiliation with human rights in the 1940s as central to the history of human rights discourse, rejecting narratives that view human rights as a long-term historical product of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the French Revolution, or Enlightenment rationalism. With an introduction by the author.

On Deadline

Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship: InterAsian Contexts & Connections
Applications Due: August 25

Abe Fellowship
Applications Due: September 1

InterAsian Connections V: Seoul
Workshop Paper Proposals Due: September 8

Abe Fellowship for Journalists
Applications Due: September 15

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa
Applications Due: November 13