Democratic Struggles over National Identity and for Social Justice

Please join us for our new speaker series: Democratic Struggles over National Identity and for Social Justice. Funded by the Page-Babour Lectures, this interdisciplinary initiative is a way to foster dialogue among scholars, graduate students, undergraduates, and the community about the reverberations of the multifold backlash against democracy.

The program is sponsored by the Department of Politics, the Department of Sociology, Women Gender and Sexuality, the Power, Violence and Inequality Collective, and the Page-Barbour Fund.


Cathy Cohen

Race, Rage & Vulnerability: The Politics of Millennials in the Era of Trump

Cathy J. Cohen
David and Mary Winton Green Professor
University of Chicago

Tuesday, March 19
3:30–5:00 pm
Newcomb Hall Theater
Reception follows

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor at the University of Chicago. She formerly served in numerous administrative positions, including chair of the Department of Political Science, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and deputy provost for Graduate Education at the University of Chicago. Cohen is the author of two books, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics(University of Chicago Press) and Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press). She is also co-editor of the anthology Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU Press) with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto. Her articles have been published in numerous journals and edited volumes including the American Political Science Review, NOMOS, GLQ, Social Text, and the DuBois Review. Cohen created and oversees two major research and public-facing projects: the GenForward Survey and the Black Youth Project. She is the recipient of numerous awards, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-editor with Frederick Harris of a book series at Oxford University Press entitled “Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.”

Amaka Okechukwu

The End of Affirmative Action? Racial Political Strategy and Affirmative Action Retrenchment in the Federal Courts

Amaka Okechukwu
Assistant Professor of Sociology
George Mason University

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Gibson S296
Lunch Provided

Amaka Okechukwu is an assistant professor of sociology at George Mason University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar actively engaged in research on social movements, race, community studies, and Black archives. Central questions that animate her work include, how do social movements emerge in relationship to changing ideas and practices of racial justice? How has social policy developed in response to the demands of social movements? And, how do identities like race, class, and gender function in the development of social movement collective identity and strategy? Her research has appeared in numerous journals, including Research on Social Movements, Conflict, and Change and Issues in Race and Society: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal. Her book, To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Sarah Damaske

The Toll of Uncertainty: Women and Men and the Path to Job Loss
Sarah Damaske
Associate Professor of Labor & Employment Relations, Sociology, and Women’s Studies

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Gibson Hall S296
Lunch Provided

Sarah Damaske is an associate professor of labor and employment relations, sociology, and women’s studies at Pennsylvania State University.  Her work centers on how work and family transitions lead to cumulating inequalities over the life course.  This has led her to address specific questions regarding the relationships between work, family, and inequality, how class and gender shape workforce participation, and the dynamic relationships between work and health. Her work has appeared in numerous top journals, including Gender & Society, Work and Occupations, and Demography.  Her first book, For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work (Oxford University Press, 2011), has received awards from the National Women’s Studies Association and the North Central Sociological Association, and was recognized as one of the “most influential books published on the family since 2000” by Contemporary Sociology.


Punishment Prior to Conviction: Examining the Amount of Time Incarcerated while Innocent
Evelyn J. Patterson, Associate Professor of Sociology
Vanderbilt University
Tue. November 13, 2018
Gibson S296
Lunch Provided

Evelyn J. Patterson is an associate professor of sociology and health policy associate with the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt    University.  Her work explores the intergenerational transfer of racial and social inequalities in America with a particular emphasis on the role of the US judicial system in perpetuating these inequalities.  This overarching focus has led her to consider the consequences of incarceration for a wide range of social processes, and probe how incarceration as a social institution reconfigures and adulterates other primary social institutions, including law, the polity, education, kinship, and the economy. Her research has been featured in a number of leading academic journals, including Social Science Research, theJournal of Quantitative Criminology, and the American Journal of Public Health, to name a few.