Status Report on

Race and Ethnic Inequality in the “Post Racial” America

Arts and Sciences Seminar, Hunter College CUNY

By Prof. Arlene Torres and Prof. Anthony Browne

March 12, 2013


The seminar, Race and Ethnic Inequality in the “Post Racial” America has had productive year. There are five tenure track and/or mid-career faculty, a post-doctoral research associate and a graduate student participating in the seminar designed to illuminate how race and ethnicity adversely impact opportunities for Latinos and Blacks.


We have met on six occasions as a working group to review the scholarship of our peers and on two other occasions in support of co-sponsored events. The cohort initially convened to set the framework for the seminar including the timeline and expectations.

Š       A work-in-progress and recommended readings are circulated to participants in advance of our monthly meeting to further promote intellectual engagement with our peers. (A 25 page manuscript and bibliographic references are circulated 2 weeks in advance by the seminar participant)

Š       Another member of the seminar is asked to serve as the lead reviewer. Participants submit their review and written remarks to the lead reviewer, one week in advance of the seminar. The lead reviewer culls the information and formally presents the paper, queries, and suggestions for revision.

Š       At the working seminar, the participant who submitted the working draft provides a response. The seminar group engages in a lively discussion in support of our colleagues’ scholarship.

Š        Formal remarks by the lead reviewer and notes are provided to the participant to facilitate the revision of the working draft. A timely revision is expected.

Š       Suggestions for possible publication outlets are made.


Ricardo Gabriel, a graduate student in Sociology presented the first working paper “Post-Racialism in Higher Education: A Critical Puerto Rican Studies Perspective” and Dr. Arlene Torres, Associate Professor (AFPRL) served as the respondent. The dialogue that ensued helped Gabriel to revise the paper and facilitated the development of a Ford Foundation proposal for doctoral research. Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera, a post doctoral fellow at CENTRO presented the second paper, “Right to Fight” Enfranchisement and Self-Determination through Military Service: The African-American and Puerto Rican Experience” followed by response by Anthony Browne, Associate Professor (AFPRL). Given the quality of the work, the group provided Franqui-Rivera with critical feedback as he prepares to submit the work to peer reviewed journals in African American studies, Latino Studies and in the field of military history. Dr. Milagros Denis, Assistant Professor (AFRPL) presented her work “The Missing Factor of Puerto Rican National Identity” at our final meeting this past term. Upon our recommendations, she was able to finalize two chapters of a book manuscript that has been sent to SUNY Press. Dr. Victor Torres-Velez, Assistant Professor (AFPRL) presented a paper, “Women, Disease and Political Awakening” this past February and Dr. Anthony Browne, Associate Professor (AFPRL) is poised to present his article length manuscript “Bearing the Burden: The Great Recession and its Disparate Impact on Racial and Immigrant Groups in New York City” at our working seminar next week. Given the successful interchange between the participants we hope to expand the group to include two to three additional faculty members to further enhance our efforts.


At this juncture, we have developed working bibliographies for each of the topics covered to facilitate future research and scholarship. Mr. Ricardo Gabriel is serving as our college assistant and is helping to manage the papers and bibliography in BOX and Endnote respectively.


In addition, Dr. Victor Torres-Velez coordinated the invitation of Dr. Leah Stauber, Assistant Professor University of Arizona to Hunter College. Dr. Stauber presented her work to the members of the seminar and to the public on the 7th of November 2012. The event, “What Tucson’s Ethnic Studies Battles Tell Us about Contests of/for the Nation at the Dawn of 21st Century,” held at Roosevelt House was co-sponsored by the Department of AFRPL, The Human Rights Program at Hunter College, CENTRO, and the Race and Ethnic Inequality Seminar (supported by the School of Arts and Sciences).  A small cohort of 25 faculty, students and broader members of the community attended the presentation. Stauber’s presentation was followed by a series of commentaries that included the perspective of Mr. Ryan Morgan, an AFPRL undergraduate whose poignant reflections on the importance of ethnic and race studies was recently published in the November 14th 2012 edition of CounterPunch. Dr. Arlene Torres and Dr. Anthony Browne submitted a proposal to present our work at the CUNY Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Conference held this past week at the Graduate Center. Browne, Denis, and Torres discussed our roles as mentors of students, tenure-track and mid-career faculty as members of this seminar and the Hunter faculty before an audience of seventy-five CUNY faculty and administrators. We noted that the seminar has created a space whereby we can advance the scholarship of faculty, post-docs and graduate students, through a collegial community of shared intellectual interests.


A number of scheduled speakers whose scholarship we have been engaged with throughout the year will be joining us this term. These include, Dr. Merida Rua, Associate Professor of American Studies at Williams College, Dr. Ana Yolanda Ramos, Professor of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Baruch College, CUNY and Dr. Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Professor of Sociology at Duke.


In sum, this endeavor has resulted in the following outcomes:

Š       Participants have revised their working drafts;

Š       Manuscripts have been submitted for publication by peer reviewed journals;

Š       Chapters have been revised for book length manuscripts;

Š       Proposals for funding and research have been honed;

Š       Proposals for course development have been submitted and are under review;

Š       Guest speakers have been brought to campus and have actively engaged seminar participants and the broader CUNY community;

Š       Information about fellowships, grants, workshops and publications related to our lives in the academy has been shared;

Š       Participants have developed leadership skills;

Š       An intellectual community that thrives and is committed to reciprocally advancing the scholarship of our peers has been created.

We want to especially thank the Dean and Arts and Sciences for providing us with the funding and the opportunity to develop this working seminar and trust the funds can be allocated in the future to allow us to continue to make contributions to Hunter College, CUNY and the broader community.