A Virtual Review: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity in American Political Science Association Publications

A Virtual Review: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity in American Political Science Association Publications

by Dianne Pinderhughes and Maryann KwakwaUniversity of Notre Dame

The APSA Presidential Task Force Report Political Science in the 21st Century, led by co-chairs Luis Fraga and Terri Givens and 2007–08 APSA President Dianne Pinderhughes, addressed the status of the discipline when the report was published in 2011. [i] “Is political science positioned to embrace and incorporate the changing demographics, increasing multicultural diversity, and ever-growing disparities in the concentration of wealth present in many nation-states? Can political science do so within its research, teaching, and professional development?”[ii]  The report concluded Political Science was “often ill-equipped to address in a sustained way why many of the most marginal members of political communities around the world are often unable to have their needs effectively addressed by governments. Just as importantly, political science is also ill-equipped to develop explanations for the social, political, and economic processes that lead to groups’ marginalization” (1).[iii]  The Political Science in the 21st Century report, now just over five years old, offered a number of recommendations to the discipline including several related to political science research on diversity and racial, ethnic, and gendered marginalization.

We were recently invited by the association to briefly review these issues associated with research, to remind the discipline of this taskforce report, and to identify some of the articles that have appeared in the association’s journals in recent years that engage issues of race and gender, to see where we are now in comparison to where we were around 2010, as we readied the taskforce report for publication.

An introductory caution: this essay is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of all such articles published in all APSA journals (whether by the association or published by organized sections), but is an innovative approach to exploring some of the work that has appeared around a specific topic. (This review essay does not include articles from the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (JREP), the official journal of the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics section. We concluded our search for articles to include in this review in spring 2016, around the same time as the first issue of JREP was published. Readers are encouraged to review the JREP articles published in 2016 and 2017). Seventeen articles (table 1) were selected as appropriate for discussion for this exercise. The articles were categorized along two dimensions: (1) by the journals in which they appeared: PS: Political Science & Politics, American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, and Politics and Gender, and (2) sorted into five general areas that reflect the search terms used to locate relevant articles:  diversity; race and ethnicity; race and minority; teaching and learning; and textbook portrayal. Table 2 sorts and summarizes these by category and specific journals.

Read the full Virtual Issue.

About the virtual issue editors

Dianne Pinderhughes is Notre Dame Presidential Faculty Fellow, and Professor.  She chairs the Department of Africana Studies, and is a member of the faculty in the Department of Political Science. Her research addresses inequality with a focus on racial, ethnic and gender politics and public policy in the Americas. She was President of the American Political Science Association 2007-08, and the APSA Task Force she appointed completed its report in 2011:  Political Science in the 21st Century.

Maryann Kwakwa is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in American Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. She completed her undergraduate education at Oberlin College, where she graduated with a degree in Law and Society in 2014. The title of her dissertation is “The Ambiguous Cohort: How Alternative Undergraduate Experiences Impact Civic Engagement.” Sh