Our conversation previews a few themes from Prudence’s presidential address at the ASA annual meeting in Philadelphia this weekend. Prudence identifies key deficiencies of liberal democracies like the U.S. that have allowed the social and political regression we’re witnessing now. She has some pointed suggestions for what we sociologists should be doing in this regressive moment. Specifically, we discuss the case of affirmative action in the U.S.
Prudence Carter is the Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor of Sociology at Brown University. Before that, she was Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley. Her research focuses on academic inequalities based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender in the United States and elsewhere. Her books include the award-winning Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White (2005), and Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. & South African Schools.
Prudence is my first guest to highlight the importance of 'relational' factors and inequalities. I also really appreciated her urging us to do interdisciplinary work. As Prudence has learned first hand, academia does not make this easy for us, and even penalizes us for doing it, but we need to do it anyway. Like Joya Misra, the next president of ASA, Prudence also urges us to communicate directly with those who make things happen in the real world. Like Joya, she highlights our undergraduate students as agents of change.