In 2008, Sociology graduate students and faculty formed the Race and Ethnic Relations (RER) Committee to explore options for strengthening recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color at Indiana University. Recognizing a lack of workshops and seminars on race scholarship, in February 2008, RER hosted “Building Bridges,” a one-day discussion panel addressing current theoretical and methodological debates around race.
History of the Center
In March 2009, RER members organized a second, larger interdisciplinary event: a symposium titled “Social Research on Race: Building Bridges across the Pipeline.” This symposium brought nine scholars at various stages of their academic careers together from across the country to share research on new frontiers of race and ethnicity research. The scale and continued momentum of this second event was made possible by several campus-wide sponsors, including the Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs; College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Sociology; African American and African Diaspora Studies; Latino Studies Program; Department of History; the Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund; and Horizons of Knowledge.
The students who formed RER envisioned on-going efforts to diversify the IU Bloomington faculty as well as the creation of a common space for students who study research on race and ethnicity. In the spring of 2009, representatives submitted a proposal to the President’s University Diversity Initiative. This proposal for a “Social Science Diversity Initiative” (SSDI) recommended the development of a Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society on the IU Bloomington campus. An SSDI advisory board consisting of eight IUB faculty researchers on race and ethnicity in the US identified three areas of critical need:
- The center should focus on creating a strong, interdisciplinary community of scholars studying race and ethnicity that reaches across departmental boundaries to provide social, scholarly, and financial support to faculty.
- The center should create an environment that is conducive to training students to conduct cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on race and ethnicity and provide financial support for student research through grants.
- The center should foster collaborative research while providing a venue for disseminating research to the university community and larger public.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, the SSDI board took a series of actions to address these three areas of critical need:
Monthly Colloquium Series
Beginning in 2009, the SSDI invited faculty and graduate students from around the IU community and around the country to present their research on race and ethnicity in a monthly series. Each colloquium provided a unique space for interdisciplinary dialogue between sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, and area studies specialists. An early highlight of the series was a 2010 visit from Dr. Camille Z. Charles, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, hosted through a partnership with the Office of Women’s Affairs.
Graduate Course Guide
For the 2009-2010 academic year, the SSDI identified seven courses in the College of Arts and Sciences that were of interest to students studying race and ethnicity. In addition, the SSDI and the School of Education created a research-focused interdisciplinary course “Race, Ethnicity, Class, Gender and Identity” taught by Dr. Robert Arnove, a Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, who hosted in a different social scientist or historian each week to discuss their research on race and ethnicity.
Graduate Student Grants
In the 2009-2010 academic year, the SSDI awarded competitive grants (ranging from $1,500 to $2,420) to five IU graduate students conducting original social scientific research on race and ethnicity in the US. Inaugural grant recipients were from Psychological and Brain Sciences, Sociology, and Counseling Psychology. Awardees’ proposal topics ranged from experimental research on prejudice to a historical analysis of race-based colleges.
Over the next two years, these programs grew. The Monthly Colloquium series began to feature presentations by recipients of Graduate Student Grants and interest in both programs across campus steadily increased. The SSDI sought permanent funding to meet this demand and expand the community of scholars conducting research on race and ethnicity at IU. In These efforts bore fruit in July 2012 when the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) was officially approved by the College of Arts and Sciences.
Since 2012, CRRES has continued its commitment to raising the profile of IU Bloomington as a key site for training and research on race and ethnicity in the US.
Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
Office Hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm