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  • Davis and Ernst Publish on Promoting a Colorblind Agenda Through Direct Democracy

    September 23, 2011

    Political Science Professors Angelique Davis and Rose Ernst (right) recently published “Racial Spectacles: Promoting a Colorblind Agenda through Direct Democracy” in Studies in Law, Politics and Society (Volume 5, 2011).

    In their article, Davis and Ernst examine citizen initiatives as they relate to racially marginalized groups.

    “We developed the concept of “racial spectacles” to describe the narrative vehicles that serve to symbolically reassert and reinforce real existing racial hierarchies and inequalities,” Davis said.

    Through an analysis of five statewide anti-affirmative action initiative campaigns from 1996 to 2008, Davis and Ernst explored both macro and micro political dynamics: public displays of these campaigns as well as individual, private agency expressed in the public and private act of voting; court decisions in initiative litigation as well as individual and interest group participation in these cases.

    Davis, who joined the Political Science Department in 2005, focuses her research on socio-legal issues and critical race theory, particularly in the areas of racial categorization, official apologies and reparations, and lawyer-legislators of color. Currently in press is her book chapter “Political Blackness: a Sociopolitical Construction of Blackness Post-Loving v. Virginia,” in Loving in a “Post-racial” World: New Legal Approaches to Interracial Marriages and Relationships (Kevin Malliard and Rose Cuison Villazor, eds., Cambridge University Press) and a forthcoming article in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal titled, “Descriptive Representation Matters: The Connection Between Access to Legal Education and Nonwhite Lawyer-Legislators in the United States.”

    Ernst, who has been on the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2007, focuses her research on social movements and change, public policy, critical race theory, and the politics of race, gender, class, and sexuality. In 2010, NYU Press published her book The Price of Progressive Politics: The Welfare Rights Movement in an Era of Colorblind Racism.

    The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees.


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