The purpose of the Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice - Network (RDCJ-N) is to collectively undertake research and related initiatives geared to exploring the implications of crime and justice processing for democratic participation. This focus is informed by currents of history, cutting-edge crime and justice research, unfolding world events, and the interests and engagements of networks participants. Our specific objectives are twofold: (1) advancing research on issues of citizenship and democratic participation at the intersection of race, crime, and justice; and (2) promoting racial/ethnic democratization of academe by supporting junior scholars of color (racial/ethnic minorities) in advancing their academic careers.
- Advancing the Study of Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice
- Supporting Junior Scholars of Color
Existing research on race, crime and justice has failed to adequately capture the "race-effect" in its social and political context. Our basic premise is that the deepest meaning of "the color line" is not the fact of "race-based distinction" but that such distinctions affect access to the rights of citizenship and democratic participation. The intersection of race, crime and justice has many expressions, ranging from police violence and profiling, criminal victimization, and the death penalty, to legal protection and recourse, the loss of voting and other democratic rights, the crisis of mass imprisonment, and structurally-based participation in crime. We aim to expand knowledge on the complex origins and implications of these realities, including their relevance to democratic ideals.
Our goal is to produce a body of original multi-disciplinary work on race, crime, and criminal justice, emphasizing the variable significance of race – as an identity, ascribed status, a stigma or privilege, a social organizational effect, and otherwise – and how this racialization relates to our understanding of citizenship and democracy. We have taken an initial step to do so through the publication of The Many Colors of Crime: Inequalities of Race, Ethnicity and Crime in America (New York University Press 2006). Currently, members of the RDCJ-N are collaborating on multi-dimensional and comparative studies of race, crime and justice and their implications for racial democracy nationally and around the world. Examples of this work are featured in "Race, Crime, and Justice: Contexts and Complexities" -- a special issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Vol. 623 May 2009).
Our second objective is to support the advancement of ethnoracial minorities engaged in the academic study of race, crime and justice. This also relates to the study and pursuit of democratic inclusion. Our experiences indicate that young scholars of color encounter dilemmas, challenges and barriers that complicate their promotion in the academy, and retard advances in knowledge that can come from the perspectives on race, crime and justice that these scholars potentially offer. Our network includes many young scholars of color who are presently engaged in this area of study, several of whom are published in our recent book. To facilitate the success of junior faculty and help broaden participation in academe, we host a Summer Research Institute (SRI) every year. During the SRI, young scholars are provided with resources for completing research projects and are given tools that facilitate growth in academia. Following upon our seven-year success, we are planning an eighth SRI for July 2013 in which eight faculty participants will spend three stimulating weeks writing, discussing their work and strategies for success, and networking with one another and other national scholars.