Our undergraduate researchers have provided a wide variety of assistance to our faculty affiliates and postdoctoral scholars, including media analyses, gathering sources on databases, and conducting, transcribing, and coding interviews, just to name a few!
Past URP Projects
2020-2021 URP Projects
"An Ideological and Organizational Analysis of the Black Lives Matter Movement"
Kia Heryadi, Fabio Rojas
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began in 2013 and reached a new peak in the summer of 2020. This project focuses on ideological and organizational differences between the BLM movement and the classical civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. I use data collected from Twitter and documents such as statements and books from the discussion leaders of the BLM movement to illustrate these differences. I argue that the focal point of Black politics has shifted since the classical civil rights movement from the church to fields such as the arts, academia, and journalism. I also explore the unique role of women in the BLM movement compared to past social movements.
"Loving and the Spectacle of Interrace"
Mofe Koya, Clark Barwick
Dr. Clark Barwick’s chapter for Rupturing Post-Racial Fantasies will examine the landmark supreme court case Loving v. Virginia and its role in establishing and conceptualizing a fantastical post-racial America. Since Richard and Mildred Loving won their court case in 1967, their story has been retold many times. I collaborated with Dr. Barwick to analyze how the Loving story has been portrayed in the media by watching films, collecting archived newspaper articles, and reviewing photographs. Throughout our research process, Dr. Barwick and I paid close attention to how the media portrays Richard and Mildred Loving. It became evident that the characterized versions of the Lovings in each source were slightly different depending on the most pressing social issues present during the period in which they were released.
"Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement on Hiring Discrimination: A Natural Experiment"
Maria Martinez, Koji Chavez
Studies suggest that hiring is a critical site for racial and gender discrimination in job mobility. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a dramatic shift in the labor market. Additionally, the pandemic also arose during the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which raised awareness of systemic racism in the United States. This study investigates whether the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the Black Lives Matter movement have impacted the levels of racial and gender discrimination in hiring. A previous audit study conducted serves as a point of comparison for this natural experiment. The results show that white men and black women benefited in hiring decisions pre-pandemic, while white women benefited over white men mid-pandemic. Preference for black men remained consistent between pre- and mid-pandemic. There were no significant changes in hiring found with the BLM movement. Ultimately, the study showed that even though macro level processes introduce dramatic shifts in the labor market as a whole, it still disproportionately impacts racial and gender groups.
"Adaptations and Augmentations: How Black-owned businesses in Detroit handled struggles"
Jordan Plunkett, Candace Miller
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about several challenges to small businesses, especially those owned by Black people. It has also, however, presented opportunities for adaptations. Understanding both gives us a picture of how these businesses will move forward in the future. In order to get to that point, we collected the information for businesses in certain zip codes around Detroit. I reached out via email, social media, and phone to schedule and conduct 90-minute interviews. Using the collected data, there were several ways in which the business adapted and augmented their offerings to circumvent regulations and maintain safety: by creating new space either physically, digitally, or within a new market. They made these changes in order to dodge financial and operational distress with the help of community resources that teach basic skills like running an online shop to maintain a connection with existing customers and filling out paperwork for grants and loans. Such tactics used to stay in business were employed by businesses in both “traditional” industries like food and retail and “unique” industries. Results varied, though, even across similar types of businesses.
"Composing a Sustainable, Engaging, and Inclusive Performing Arts Organization"
Paula Wilson, Dr. Alisha Jones
During the Summer of 2020, performing arts leaders were charged to implement effective diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies within their organizations. The performing arts field has a history of exclusionary practices and gatekeeping that prevents diverse representation onstage and offstage. This research explores effective and replicable changes that must be made by performing arts executives to create a sustainable, engaging, and inclusive arts organization. Interviews were conducted individually with Aubrey Bergauer, former Executive Director of the California Symphony and arts consultant; Tehvon Fowler-Chapman, Executive Director of Washington Concert Opera; Alex Poots, CEO of The Shed; and Afa Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of Sphinx. The interviews and literature review investigates effective marketing, fundraising, and programming methods within performing arts organizations. The compilation of the experience, insight, and creativity of these arts professionals will make this project an accessible and valuable resource for arts administrators, seeking to revive their organization and arts community.
2019-2020 URP Projects
"The Noble Mark: Noble M. Johnson and the Performance of Race" - Professor Cara Caddoo (History, The Media School) and Sam Bowden (History, Media majors)
"The Vampire Britannia: Monsters of the Empire in Helen Oyeyemi's White is for Witching" - Professor Maisha Wester (African American and African Diaspora Studies, American Studies) and Daun Fields (English major)
"An Imperfect Match? Gender and Racial Discrimination in Hiring Across Relative Qualification" - Professor Koji Chavez (Sociology) and Maria Martinez (Neuroscience, Philosophy majors)
"Evidence-Based Internet Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Use in a Community Sample" and "Subjective Social Status as an Indicator of Mental and Physical Health Among Black and Latinx Adults" - Professor Tennisha Riley (Psychological and Brain Sciences) and Kendall Riley (Psychology, Human Biology majors)
"John F. Matheus, Blackness, and the Harlem Renaissance Archive" - Professor Clark Barwick (Communication, Kelley School of Business) and Margaret VanSchaik (International Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures majors)
Dr. Clark Barwick’s project consists of research of the life and works of Harlem Renaissance writer John F. Matheus.
During the 1920s, Matheus was a significant contributor to the so-called “New Negro” movement, publishing award-winning short fiction and plays along with essays and poems in major venues. Matheus’ work was attuned to blackness in immigration, war, and rural life, as well as diasporic blackness, with much of his writing focusing on racial struggle in Haiti, Africa, and Europe.
In his later years, Matheus became an influential scholar, committed to African American higher education and, in particular, foreign language education for African American college students.
Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
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