Month: February 2020

Matthew Hughey, Recent Media Appearances

31 Jan 2020. Interview for "Disputed NY Times '1619 Project' Already Shaping Schoolkids' Minds on Race.” Real Clear Investigations


After the interview Hughey states "That racial fatalism and reparations should inform the 1619 Project comes as no surprise to scholars who have studied race in America and responses to racism. “This is called Afro-pessimism,” said Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut who is also an adjunct faculty member of the Africana Studies Institute and in the Race, Ethnicity and Politics program. “There is a whole branch of thought that … racism is fundamental to the economic and political structure of the United States.” 





28 Jan 2020. Audio Interview for “A White Savior Complex,” Philanthropology Podcast(PBS).


After the interview Hughey states, "I mean what's the worst thing that someone could call you?  A racist . . . .  It's the ultimate white slur. It is the thing that white people are scared of . . . . the charge of racism is almost like ethnic slurs for white folks. Because you have all types of slurs and horrible things you can call people of color that have charged histories. You have a lot of slurs and people of color of use against white folks. But in a way folks even know them, and aren't even hurt by them.”


3 Nov 2019.  Audio Interview for “Code Switch,” National Public Radio, “Harriet Tubman’s ‘Visions’"

Hughey states "White people are assumed to be smart, to be hardworking, to be problem solvers to figure these things out and do - to do that through science and materialism." . . . .But with black characters, Hughey says, it's different. Think Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile," Whoopi Goldberg in "Ghost," Will Smith in "The Legend of Bagger Vance." Their character's heroism is based on… "A closer connection to the earth or the magic or the supernatural or the spiritual or the divine that white people somehow lost in their march toward civilization."  Hughey says that as black characters gain more visibility in Hollywood, balancing how to portray them is going to take a lot of care.  "So the new ways in which blackness are portrayed are in some ways progressive and new and great. It's great that we have a story about Harriet Tubman.”  But as we get better at portraying black folks as superhuman, Hughey says, we also need to get better at portraying them as human.



18 Sept 2019.  Print Interview for Burlington Free Press, “Behind the manifesto: What does the Patriot Front actually believe?”

"(The Patriot Front) is, in my estimation, a pretty typical manifestation of the modern white nationalist movement,"  Hughey said. Hughey researches race and ethnicity "as a dynamic and ongoing practice with an emphasis on racism, meaning-making, and asymmetrical relations of power.”  Hughey noted that parts of the manifesto were indicative of a white supremacist ideology, but ultimately felt white nationalism was a better descriptor, primarily due to their belief that the U.S. is a white state. . . . Hughey pointed out themes echoing both nationalistic and supremacist rhetoric throughout the manifesto. . . . . The Patriot Front might be classified as a white nationalist group, but an analysis of its ideologies suggests overlap with other belief systems. Hughey pointed out that race is only mentioned three times in the manifesto, but is alluded to throughout. Ultimately, Hughey argued Patriot Front and similar groups are aware of how they are portrayed, attempting to avoid being marked as supremacists. "As if that's somehow better.”


Syracuse Suspends Fraternities for Racism,”:

"While pledging or 'rushing' a fraternity or sorority is an annual rite, so now are the yearly stories about these organizations less than subtle embrace of racism."

2020 Graduate Student Fellowship

Congratulations to Amy Lawton, who has been awarded a graduate student fellowship through "The Sociology of Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation” funding initiative, led by Elaine Howard Ecklund (Rice University) and John H. Evans (University of California, San Diego), and funded through the Templeton Religion Trust ( The fellowship will support her research for her dissertation, “Medical Students, Donor Bodies, and the Scientific Sacred.”

2019 SWS Mentoring Award

Manisha Desai

The mentoring award was established in 1990 to honor an SWS member who is an outstanding feminist mentor. In establishing the award, SWS recognized that feminist mentoring is an important and concrete way to encourage feminist scholarship.

Manisha Desai is the Head of Sociology and Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her research and teaching interests include Gender and Globalization, Transnational Feminisms, Human Rights movements, and Contemporary Indian Society.

Many of Manisha Desai’s mentees expressed how inspiring Manisha has been, her students described her as "passionate feminist mentor", In the words of Chriss Sneed, “Often, her mentorship reaches beyond office hours and yet, Dr.Desai graciously makes room for more inquisitive minds. I can only hope that I will be able to provide one fourth of the passionate mentorship that Dr. Desai offers her students.”

2019 Jessie Bernard Award

Bandana Purkayastha

The Jessie Bernard Award was established in 1977 by the ASA Council to honor Jessie Bernard’s enormous influence on the study of gender. The award is given in recognition of scholarly work inclusive of research, teaching, mentoring, and service, that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society.

Dr. Bandana Purkayastha is a professor of Sociology and Asian & Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut, has an enviable publishing record of 14 books and over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is a nationally and internationally respected sociologist conducting path-breaking research in gender theory, migration, Asian studies, and human rights. Purkayastha has written extensively on women’s human rights. In addition to her own research, she has strategically worked with colleagues and students to develop interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives. At UCONN, Bandana served as Chair of the Sociology Department from 2011-2016. Through her effort and vision, the outreach of our professional associations has grown.