Race and Racism Scholarship Initiative

In response to the nationwide racial reckoning of 2020, and as part of Columbia's broader commitment to antiracism, the Office of the Provost launched the Faculty Cluster Hire Initiative to Support Race and Racism Scholarship. This initiative is designed to support the University’s goals with respect to diversity and our climate of inclusion, by advancing the recruitment of outstanding tenured and tenure-track faculty members engaged in race and racism scholarship. Additional information is available here.

The Spring 2023 submission deadlines has passed.

Race and Racism Scholarship Faculty Cluster Hire Members

Click on each faculty member's photo to learn more about their work.

Nkemka Anyiwo, Assistant Professor of Social Work, examines the sociocultural factors that promote the healing and empowerment of Black youth. The primary focus of her work is how media and other sociocultural factors promote the resilience and empowerment of Black youth, shaping their racial and sociopolitical identities.

Shanya Cordis, Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, is a first-generation Black and indigenous (Lokono and Warau) Guyanese-American. As a sociocultural anthropologist, her research focuses on indigeneity across the Americas and the Caribbean, black and indigenous political subjectivities and resistance, transnational black and indigenous feminisms, and critical feminist geographies.

Robert Eschmann, Associate Professor of Social Work, writes on educational inequality, community violence, racism, social media, and youth wellbeing. His research seeks to uncover individual, group, and intuitional-level barriers to racial and economic equity. In his research, Dr. Eschmann pays special attention to the heroic efforts everyday people make to combat those barriers.

Natasha Johnson, Assistant Professor of Social Work, is a personality psychologist and social work scholar who utilizes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods to assess culturally-relevant developmental processes that facilitate resilience for Black youth. Her three research foci are: (1) social identities, (2) vulnerability and resilience in the context of racial discrimination, and (3) racism awareness. She aims to reduce mental health disparities by developing and evaluating sustainable interventions that promote Black youth’s wellness.

David Knight, Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Columbia Department of Sociology, will join the Columbia Sociology faculty in Fall 2023. His research focuses on the politics surrounding mass incarceration, with broad interests in the fields of American politics; race, ethnicity, and politics (REP); Black political thought; criminal justice; critical prison studies; law and society; education; and social movements. 

Charles Lea, Assistant Professor of Social Work, investigates the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, and gender in educational, correctional, and neighborhood contexts, and the impact these issues have on the health and well-being of young Black men and boys at risk and involved in the juvenile and criminal punishment systems. The overarching aims of this work is to develop knowledge and build theory that informs policies, practices, and interventions that can promote resilience and healthy development among young Black men and boys’, as well as lessen their risk for health-compromising behaviors, arrest, incarceration, and recidivism.

Andrew McCall, Assistant Professor of Political Science, studies the institutional causes of racial inequality in US policing. He utilizes formal models and archival sources to examine how the design of police departments can reduce or contribute to racial inequality in policing.

Naeem Mohaiemen, Associate Professor of Visual Arts, combines photography, films, archives, and essays to research the many forms of utopia-dystopia. In his role as School of the Arts Photography Concentration Head he is collaborating with colleagues in the Visual Arts department to assess the future of photography.

Mario Small, Quetelet Professor of Social Science, has conducted extensive research on urban poverty, social inequality, personal networks, and the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Small is currently studying the relationship between networks and decision-making, the ability of large-scale data to answer critical questions about poverty, and the role qualitative inquiry in cumulative social science.

The faculty listed above represent confirmed members of this faculty cluster hire program. Additional faculty recruitments have been authorized through this initiative and this page will be updated as those hires are confirmed.