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Race, Inequality, and Culture

American Academy Journal Dædalus Examines Race in America Today


Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – How has the socioeconomic position of African Americans changed in the past 50 years? What factors have affected their prosperity, well-being, and social standing? In the new issue of Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 22 prominent social scientists examine “Race, Inequality, and Culture.” They consider topics ranging from education and family support to racial identity, politics, employment, immigration, and the influence of hip hop.

Guest editor Lawrence Bobo, the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, suggests that today we inhabit a place situated somewhere between the overt discrimination of Jim Crow and the aspiration of full racial equality. “Declarations of having arrived at the post-racial moment are premature,” he writes.

In January 2011, the Academy published “Race in the Age of Obama,” guest edited by humanities professor Gerald Early of Washington University in St. Louis and featuring essays by 14 leading humanists. Nearly 50 years ago, during the height of the civil rights movement, the American Academy published two issues of Dædalus on “The Negro American,” examining the complexities and implications of mid-20th-century racial liberalism in the United States.

“With the presidency of Barack Obama and the subsequent national conversation about a new, post-racial America, it is the right time to examine both real and perceived changes in the racial divide since the 1960s,” said Academy President Leslie Berlowitz.

Essays in Race, Inequality, and Culture include:
  • “Somewhere between Jim Crow and Post-Racialism: Reflections on the Racial Divide in America Today” by Lawrence D. Bobo, Harvard University
  • “The Past and Future of American Civil Rights” by Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University
  • “The Declining Significance of Race: Revisited and Revised” by William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
  • “The American Family in Black and White: A Post-Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality” by James J. Heckman, University of Chicago
  • “The Achievement Gap: Past, Present, and Future” by Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan
  • “Has the Supreme Court Been More a Friend or Foe to African Americans?” by Michael J. Klarman, Harvard Law School
  • “Affirmative Action: The U.S. Experience in Comparative Perspective” by Daniel Sabbagh, Centre d’études et de recherches internationales
  • “Challenging History: Barack Obama and American Racial Politics” by Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania, Desmond S. King, University of Oxford, and Philip A. Klinkner, Hamilton College
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow?: Post-Racial and Pan-Racial Politics in the Age of Obama” by Taeku Lee, University of California, Berkeley
  • “Destabilizing the American Racial Order” by Jennifer L. Hochschild, Harvard University, Vesla M. Weaver, University of Virginia, and Traci Burch, Northwestern University
  • “Intra-minority Intergroup Relations in the Twenty-First Century” by Jennifer A. Richeson and Maureen A. Craig, Northwestern University
  • “Hip-Hop and the Global Imprint of a Black Cultural Form” by Marcyliena Morgan, Harvard University, and Dionne Bennett, Loyola Marymount University
  • “Millennials and the Myth of the Post-Racial Society: Black Youth, Intra-generational Divisions, and the Continuing Racial Divide in American Politics” by Cathy J. Cohen, University of Chicago
  • “The Black Masculinities of Barack Obama: Some Implications for African American Men” by Alford A. Young, Jr., University of Michigan
  • “Immigration: The New American Dilemma” by Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles
  • “Controversial Blackness: The Historical Development and Future Trajectory of African American Studies” by Martha Biondi, Northwestern University
To order a copy of these volumes or to subscribe to Daedalus visit:

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and technology policy; global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.


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