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Panel Discussion: Affirmative Action Displaced

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  • Tawes Hall
Graphic of "Affirmative Action Displaced" with headshots and names of speakers

This event features Professors GerShun Avilez (English), Janelle Wong (American Studies), and Muna Adem (Sociology) in a discussion on the recent decision by the Supreme Court to end affirmative action.


Headshot of GerShun Avilez on gray background

GerShun Avilez is Professor of English, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Graduate Education and Strategic Initiatives, Associate Dean of the Douglass Center, and affiliate faculty for the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. He is a cultural studies scholar who specializes in contemporary African American and Black Diasporic literatures and visual cultures. His first book, Radical Aesthetics & Modern Black Nationalism (Illinois), appeared in 2016 as a part of “The New Black Studies” Series. Radical Aesthetics won the 2017 William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association (MLA). His second book, Black Queer Freedom (Illinois), explores Black Diasporic queer artists and questions of social space. It was published in 2020 and is also a volume in “The New Black Studies” Series. Black Queer Freedom was a finalist for the 2021 P. Sterling Stuckey Book Prize (Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora). His teaching also covers 20th century US literature. Much of his scholarship explores how questions of gender and sexuality inform artistic production. In addition, he works in the fields of political radicalism, spatial theory, gender studies, and medical humanities.

Photo of woman with black hair on light gray background

Janelle Wong is Professor of Government and Politics and American Studies and Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University. Prior to joining the University of Maryland in 2012, she was at the University of Southern California in the Departments of Political Science and American Studies and Ethnicity. Wong’s research is on race, immigration, and political mobilization. As a scholar and teacher, Wong has worked closely with social service, labor, civil rights, and media organizations that serve the Asian American population.

Woman with long black curly hair and glasses wearing a yellow print dress

Muna Adem is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland. Her research lies at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and immigration. Her overarching research agenda is motivated by two broader questions: 1) How does immigration-driven diversity influence race relations, group divisions and ethnoracial inequalities in the US and Europe? 2) And in what ways do organizations and elite actors contribute to the (in)stability of ethnoracial and social stratification systems? To answer these and other interrelated questions, she uses a number of strategies, including network and text analysis, survey experiments and behavioral experiments, and mixed-methods. In her US based research she is particularly interested in examining how emerging groups (e.g., Latinos and Asian Americans) challenge classic theoretical predictions about racial inequalities stemming from the Black-White divide. Moving beyond the US, Adem's research is interested in the ways that social processes related to race, ethnicity, and immigration diverge depending on national context and policies. To gain a better understanding of these macro-level forces Adem employs a comparative framework arguing that European contexts provide a unique opportunity to examine the role of different national contexts. Her research has been published in Social Forces (forthcoming), Social Psychology Quarterly, Emerging Adulthood, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Her current and ongoing work to date has received support and recognition from research awards and prestigious fellowships, including the North Central Sociological Association, the International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and the Center for Research on Race & Ethnicity in Society at Indiana University.


Tawes Hall

2115 Tawes Hall


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