In this talk, Bell draws on Manning Marable’s famous conceptualization of How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. She makes the argument that a reliance on ‘diversity’ as a master frame for understanding race in higher education has thwarted the development of a system of higher education invested in racial justice. Observing that universities are party to racial oppression and that social movement battles have been waged about racial inequality in higher education, she asks how the concept of diversity became the dominant lens for understanding race in the academy. The talk then seeks to understand the consequences of this framing for racial justice projects on campus and beyond.
Joyce M. Bell is an Associate Professor of sociology at the University of Chicago whose work sits at the intersection of race, social movements and the professions. She is the author of The Black Power Movement and American Social Work (Columbia University Press, 2014). She has also published research on the role of diversity discourse in institutions. Bell holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Spanish and sociology from the University of St. Thomas. She is an Upward Bound & McNair Scholars alumna and is a past recipient of the National TRiO Achievers Award. She has also been awarded fellowships from Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, and the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. She is the 2016 recipient of the American Sociological Association Section on Racial & Ethnic Minorities Distinguished Early Career Award. Bell is currently working on her second book, entitled Black Power Lawyers: Unique and Unorthodox Methods.