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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

November 3, 2010

Written by C.N.

Job Postings #7

Here are some more announcements about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other related opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues (listed in order of application deadline). As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Sociology, University of Missouri St. Louis

The Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Languages at the University of Missouri, St. Louis invites applicants for a 2-year full-time Visiting Assistant Professor/Visiting Assistant NTT Teaching Professor position starting January 2011.

We seek candidates with combined teaching and research interests in Sociology who do comparative work on racialized groups (particularly African American, Latino/a, and/or Asian American) with expertise in urban sociology, wealth and poverty, minority group relations, social stratification, sociology of power, and/or public/social policy.

Candidates seeking consideration for Visiting Assistant Professor will have responsibilities that include five courses annually, and an active research agenda. Candidates seeking consideration for Visiting Assistant NTT Teaching Professor will have responsibilities that include seven courses annually.

All candidates are expected to support the Sociology Department’s core curriculum and the University’s general education program, as well as offer some core courses in her/his areas of specialization that contribute to Sociology’s BA and BS degrees. Promise of teaching excellence required. PhD preferably completed by December 2010. To learn more about the department, faculty, staff and students visit

How to Apply:
Applicants should submit the following materials electronically in MS Word or PDF formats to Jim Karslake, ( and be addressed to Pamela Ashmore, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Languages:

  • Letter of application
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Graduate Transcripts
  • Separate statements on: teaching and research
  • Writing Sample
  • Three letters of reference
  • Sample syllabi
  • Statement that explains how you will engage multiple perspectives in your teaching and contribute to our institutional and departmental commitments to social responsibility

Review of applications by the Sociology Search Committee will commence November 30 2010 and will continue until the position is filled.

Sociology, Quinnipiac University

The Department of Sociology, in Quinnipiac University’s College of Arts and Sciences, invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Sociology, beginning in Fall 2011. The successful candidate must have a PhD in Sociology by the time of appointment and must have the ability to teach immigration and urban sociology. The appointee will teach other courses in the department and may be expected to teach in the University Curriculum.

Candidates must show evidence of dynamic teaching as well as professional and scholarly activity. The appointee will join a department that currently offers undergraduate majors in Sociology, Social Services, Gerontology, and Criminal Justice, as well as a minor in Anthropology. Salary and benefits are competitive.

Quinnipiac University is a private, coeducational institution in Hamden, Connecticut, conveniently located between New York City and
Boston. The University has over 300 full-time faculty and enrolls 5,900 full-time undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. Quinnipiac University has a strong commitment to the principles and practices of diversity throughout the university community and we welcome candidates who would enhance that diversity.

Please submit only a letter of interest and curriculum vitae that includes the contact information for three references online at To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by December 1, 2010.

Women’s/Asian American Studies, Penn State University

Penn State University, University Park, PA, Women’s Studies Post-Doctoral Position with Specialization in Asian/Asian American Studies.

The Department of Women’s Studies at Penn State University welcomes applications for a one-year post-doctoral position to begin August 2011. We seek candidates with demonstrated research and teaching abilities in women/gender studies with a sub-specialty in Asian/Asian American Studies. Preference will be given to candidates with a disciplinary background in history or candidates whose research and teaching reflect strong historical approaches. We are most interested in candidates with a Ph.D at the time of appointment however ABDs who are close to completion will be considered. The position is in the Department of Women’s Studies, with the possibility of teaching courses in Asian Studies. The teaching load is 2/2.

Applications should include a letter describing research and teaching plans, complete curriculum vitae, writing sample, and the address and email of three referees. Applicants should request that the letters of reference be forwarded directly at the time of application. All materials should be sent to Ms. Amy Larimer, Women’s Studies Program, 133 Willard Building, Penn State University, University Park PA. 16802 by January 14, 2011.

Post-Doc in Asian American Women Studies, Rutgers University

The Women’s and Gender Studies Department, in collaboration with the Institute for Research on Women (IRW) at Rutgers University, is pleased to announce a two-year postdoctoral fellowship supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The selected fellow will receive a stipend of $50,000 each year as well as an annual research allocation of $2,000 and Rutgers University health benefits. The fellow will pursue research and teach three courses in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department during the two-year term of her/his appointment. The fellow also will participate in seminars and other activities organized by the IRW.

The Women’s and Gender Studies Department has particular interest in scholars of Asian-American Feminist Studies; Feminist Science Studies; New Media, Arts and Technology; Religion, Sexuality, and Gender; and Gendered Violence but welcomes applications from all scholars who feel that their work would benefit from affiliation with our department and with the IRW.

Candidates should submit their applications, consisting of a CV, a 2500-word description of their research and its significance, and 3 letters of recommendation, electronically at: (search for listing under “Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship” for each participating department). Applications must be received by January 17, 2011. Candidates must have received the Ph.D. after August 31, 2006; applicants must have finished all requirements for the Ph.D. by June 1, 2011.

Questions? E-mail Leslie Fishbein, Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies Department or Sarah Tobias, Associate Director, Institute for Research on Women.

Post-Doc in Asian American Studies, University of Illinois

The Asian American Studies Program (AASP) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) seeks two postdoctoral fellows for the 2011-2012 academic year, pending approval of funding.

Applicants should conduct research germane to Asian American studies. Proposed research projects should have the potential to make a significant contribution to the field. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to be in Champaign-Urbana in residence for the 2011-2012 year. During their stay at Illinois, postdoctoral fellows will be expected to participate in research, teaching, and service. While research and participation in the intellectual life of the program is the primary responsibility, fellows will be expected to teach a course in Asian American Studies. The specific teaching duties will be decided in consultation with the Director.

The stipend for 2011-2012 year will be $42,000. In addition, $5,000 will be provided for research, travel, and related expenses. Full fringe benefits will be available during the 12-month appointment period. The program will provide the fellow with office space and routine office support for photocopying, faxing, mailing, etc. A doctoral degree, in hand, is required by July 16, 2011. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed their degrees in the past five years. Both postdoctoral fellowships will begin on August 16, 2011, are for one year, and are non-renewable.

To apply, candidates should submit four collated application packets. Each packet should include a curriculum vita, a statement of the research project to be undertaken during the fellowship year, and a sample of scholarly writing (10-25 pages). Official graduate transcripts and three letters of recommendation (including one letter from the dissertation advisor) should be sent directly to the Program to complete the file. Application material should be sent to: Post Doc Review Committee, Asian American Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1208 West Nevada Street, MC 142, Urbana, IL 61801.

To guarantee full consideration, application materials should be submitted to the AASP office by 5:00 p.m. on February 25, 2011. For further information: Contact the Asian American Studies Program at (217) 244-9530 or

March 2, 2010

Written by C.N.

Racial Incidents on Campus & The Failure of Colorblindness

As many of you have undoubtedly heard about already, there has been a series of racist incidents at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) recently. It was first sparked by a fraternity party held off-campus with a “Compton Cookout” theme in which attendees “celebrated” Black History Month by dressing up in ghetto costumes and imitating racist caricatures of Blacks. As one of their fliers put it, “For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks — Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes.”

As news of this event became publicized and as various members of the UCSD community expressed their outrage, a student-run radio station and newspaper further flamed the tensions by airing a live segment on closed-circuit television in which they expressed their support for the frat party and called the African American students protesting it “ungrateful niggers.”

There followed a series of protests and marches where participants demanded that UCSD’s administration take immediate and decisive steps to improve the campus’ racial climate. After listening to and accepting many of the protesters’ demands (although giving few details about how they will be eventually implemented), the administration organized a teach-in on racial tolerance to publicly address the issues. However, hundreds of attendees of this teach-in walked out, calling the event an inadequate response.

Students protesting peacefully at UCSD © Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

Most recently, a noose was found at the university library. A student of color subsequently admitted to playing with some rope, fashioning the noose and “inadvertently” leaving it at the library. Her apology reads in part: “As a minority student who sympathizes with the students that have been affected by the recent issues on campus, I am distraught to know that I have unintentionally added to their pain.”

The students note that only 1.3% of UCSD’s student population are African American (believed to be the lowest of all the University of California campuses) and that as illustrated by these recent events, there is a climate of ignorance and hostility in which African American students do not feel welcomed or even safe around campus and where their history and culture are routinely ignored, marginalized, or ridiculed.

Unfortunately, these kinds of racial incidents are not new nor isolated incidents (thanks, Lisa and Gwen at Sociological Images). Not only have I written about other similar incidents but as just the latest example of this kind of climate of ignorance and intolerance directed against students of color on college campuses, some cotton balls were recently found scattered in front of the Black Cultural Center at Missouri University. For many, the cotton balls symbolizes the racist legacy of slavery and racial subordination of African Americans. Along the same lines and as a second latest example, an Arizona congressman recently asserted that African Americans were better off under slavery than today.

Beyond feeling profoundly sad and depressed about the state of race relations in this country, what should we make of these incidents?

My colleagues at Racism Review quote activist Tim Wise in analyzing in depth the sociological meanings and implications of these kinds of incidents. I would only add and emphasize that for me, these incidents serve to highlight the utter failure of colorblindness and the tragic belief that if we just don’t acknowledge or talk about race and racial differences in American society that racism will just magically go away.

I’ve written about this on numerous occasions but for those who want to hear from someone else, Wired magazine’s blog cites a recent study that further describes the fallacies of trying to be colorblind:

What Bronson and Merryman discovered, through various studies, was that most white parents don’t ever talk to their kids about race. The attitude (at least of those who think racism is wrong) is generally that because we want our kids to be color-blind, we don’t point out skin color. We’ll say things like “everybody’s equal” but find it hard to be more specific than that.

If our kids point out somebody who looks different, we shush them and tell them it’s rude to talk about it. We think that simply putting our kids in a diverse environment will teach them that diversity is natural and good. And what are they learning? Here are a few depressing facts: Only 8% of white American high-schoolers have a best friend of another race. (For blacks, it’s about 15%.) The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships. 75% of white parents never or almost never talk about race with their kids.

That is, simply exposing a White child to racial diversity is not enough. Merely expressing generalized respect for racial diversity is not enough. This is because in keeping matters on a general level, racial differences and history get “watered down” and children do not understand why, despite the fact that we’re all supposed to be equal, Blacks and other people of color occupy different statuses and are portrayed in stereotypical ways in the media, which they inevitably are exposed to.

In other words, without a detailed and specific understanding of racial discrimination, children then just assume that it’s because individual Blacks and persons of color are entirely responsible for their subordinate status and have “earned” the scorn, prejudice, and hostility directed at them, not to mention being blind to the subtle privileges they enjoy as being part of the White majority. Ultimately, the assumption becomes, “Since American society is supposed to be equal, why aren’t you successful? What are you doing wrong?”

If we as a society are going to make any headway in alleviating this climate of racial ignorance and intolerance, the first place to start is to simply acknowledge race as a fundamental social distinction in American society. Only from this specific understanding of how racism works can we then begin addressing the consequences of racism.


Update: MSNBC reports that last night, a KKK-style hood was found on a statue outside the main UCSD library:

A university statement said the hood was found about 11 p.m. Monday. The object appeared to be a white pillowcase that had been crudely fashioned into a hood with a hand-drawn symbol. A rose had also been inserted into the statue’s fingers. The university said an aggressive investigation was under way, including fingerprint and DNA analysis, and vowed to punish the culprits to the fullest extent of the law.