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Trinity Launches Initiative in Social Equity Research

New consortium to connect global research in a fundamental area of study 

The Trinity College of Arts and Sciences has launched a new initiative focused on the social, political, economic and cultural dimensions of uneven and inequitable access to resources, opportunity and capabilities, said Trinity College Dean Laurie Patton.

Launched in July, researchers in the Duke Consortium on Social Equity will address the overarching social problem of general inequality and explore disparities and conflict associated with group-based identity such as gender, race, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The team will particularly focus on the construction of group identity and nationalisms at the social and individual levels, and to the cultural products such as visual arts, dance, literature, and music that result from and that critique inequality.

"The consortium is a great opportunity to combine Duke's research strengths in the area of social disparity. I am delighted that we are moving forward and thinking creatively about the ways we can nurture new connections in this fundamental area of inquiry, " said Patton.

Consortium on social equity

From left, William Darity Jr., Robert Korstad, Kerry Haynie, Charmaine Royal and Mark Anthony Neal

The director of this initiative is William Darity Jr, the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics, and co-director of the Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality. 

“The consortium is a collaborative effort among Duke scholars engaged in the study of the causes and consequences of inequality and in the assessment and redesign of remedies for inequality and its adverse effects,” said Darity. “Taking a cross-national comparative approach to the study of human difference and disparity, consortium researchers will range from the global to the local in exploring the social problems associated with group-based disparities and conflict.”

Envisioned as an interdisciplinary collaboration, the Consortium on Social Equity will bring together researchers from across Duke, including:

  • Professor Robert Korstad in the Sanford School of Public Policy, and co-director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Equality;
  • Kerry Haynie, associate professor in political science and director of the Center on Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences;
  • Charmaine Royal, associate professor in African and African American Studies (AAAS) and director of the Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference; and
  • Mark Anthony Neal, professor of AAAS, and director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship

Complementing the above four centers are three working groups: the Bioethics, Literature and the Law group led by Professor Karla Holloway from the Department of English; the Social Mobility group led by Pablo Beramendi, associate professor of political science, and Professor Anirudh Krishna from the Sanford School; and the Educational Policy group led by Associate Professors of the Practice Kristen Stephens and David Malone from the Program in Education.  In addition, the consortium is now home to the Global Inequality Research Initiative led by public policy Assistant Professor Jay Pearson. This is a program devoted to the promotion of undergraduate research on international disparities, funded through the Office of the Provost.

“Selfishly, this is a very exciting moment for me, since it has long been a dream of mine to be part of a research center devoted to the study of social inequality and human disparity,” Darity said. “And I am especially thrilled to be involved with the consortium that includes such a remarkable group of colleagues.”

Darity will initiate an intensive strategic planning effort during the fall semester by inaugurating an advisory committee for the consortium headed by political scientist Kerry Haynie. The official kick-off for the consortium is scheduled for March 2015.