Writing for My Life

Writing for My Life

By Niambi M. Carter, Howard University

In many ways, I do not see myself as a legislative-studies scholar. Although I have conducted research in the area, and my next project is largely about legislation, I still do not see myself as part of the field. This is because I entered this area through racial and ethnic politics (REP). As a “race-first” scholar, I consider REP as my research touchstone and conduit to other fields, including legislative studies. It is difficult to state why, but I have always felt like a visitor in this field. Perhaps it is because the issues, legislators, and legislation that I care about have always featured race. I could never rattle off members of Congress or congressional bills and their sponsors and cosponsors with the near-encyclopedic precision as some of our colleagues. As a result, I often felt off-kilter and deeply insecure about my knowledge and ability to contribute to the area.

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