2020 – 2021 W. Allison Davis Research Awards for Doctoral Students Announced

May 31, 2020 (last updated on June 4, 2020)

The Division of the Social Sciences and the School of Social Service Administration have announced the 2020-2021 recipients of the W. Allison Davis Research Awards. The awards, made possible by support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be made to eight doctoral students who are conducting research on issues related to those Davis studied throughout his life.

These awards are part of an initiative that honors the life and work of Professor Davis, a faculty member at the University of Chicago from 1942 to 1983. Davis studied systems of stratification and segregation between and within racial and ethnic groups in the United States. He was committed to documenting the effects of social stratification and segregation on family life, language use, educational attainment, and the development of personality and character of children and adolescents in American minority groups. He aimed at discovering social policies and practices that promised to promote the healthy development of all children and youth.

“This inaugural cohort will carry forward the important themes found in Professor Davis’ lifelong work on the causes and consequences of racial and social inequality. Our vision is to not only to honor Professor Davis’s legacy, but also to foster projects that focus attention on the work that still lies ahead,” said Amanda Woodward, Dean of the Division of Social Sciences and the William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor and Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dean of the School of Social Service Administration and the Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor. 

The 2020-2021 awardees are:

Karlyn J. Gorski, Department of Sociology
Project: On Edge: Schooling in the Urban Periphery

Justin Harty, School of Social Service Administration
Project: Fatherhood in Foster Care: Black Fathers Aging out of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Care

Ezra Karger, The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Project: The Unequal Expansion of High Schools across the United States: 1850–1951

David Knight, Department of Political Science
Project: Reconceptualizing Youth to Early Adulthood in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Darnell Leatherwood, School of Social Service Administration
Project: A National Assessment of School District Variation in Black Student Academic Achievement

Helen Lee, Department of Comparative Human Development
Project: “Fighting Back is as ‘American’ as You Can Get”: A Case Study of Chinese American Youth Collectively Constructing Alternative Racial Narratives

Marion Malcome, School of Social Service Administration
Project: African American Mothers’ Experiences of Racism, Depression and Neighborhoods: A Mixed Methods Investigation

Ilana Ventura, Department of Sociology
Project: Building an Uncertain Future: Understanding Immigrant Financial Behaviors and Investment

Applications for the awards were reviewed by a faculty committee:

  • Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science
  • Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration
  • Stephen Raudenbush, Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology, and Chair, Committee on Education
  • Shantá Robinson, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration
  • Richard A. Shweder, Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development

The Division of the Social Sciences and the School of Social Service Administration are co-organizing a symposium to honor Davis’ legacy. Originally planned for May 11, 2020, it has been postponed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. An announcement of the new date and the program for the event will be made as soon as circumstances allow.