Dr. Verna Keith, Professor of Sociology, begins her tenure as Director of RESI in January 2010. Dr. Keith returns to TAMU, having most recently been professor at Florida State University. Her research focuses on how position in the social structure influences social, physical, and emotional well-being, including how race/ethnicity, gender, and class, along with stress, increase the risk of depression. She is currently investigating the effects of colorism (i.e., the valuing of light over dark skin complexion) and discriminatory experiences on substance use and depressive symptoms. She is also evaluating the social, economic, and psychological impact of Hurricane Katrina on survivors. Dr. Keith's recent publications include Skin Deep: How Race and Complexion Matter in the Color Blind Era (University of Illinois Press), with Cedric Herring, and Hayward Horton and "Ethnicity vs. Ethnic Identity: What Predicts Substance Use Norms and Behaviors?" with Lynn Holley, Stephen Kulis, and Flavio Marsiglia. She is currently at work on two manuscripts, "A Colorstruck World: Colorism, Racism, and Sexism in the Lives of African American Women," and "Surviving Katrina: Stress, Coping, and Mental Health among Vietnamese in New Orleans," with Angela Chen.
RESI continues its mission to encourage and support both faculty and graduate student research that considers the historical and contemporary salience of race and ethnicity in human societies. We aim to bring together scholars who share a desire to understand how analytic and folk conceptions of racial and ethnic difference have shaped various aspects of the human experience. Although RESI is currently housed in the department of Sociology, which has the largest concentration of faculty studying race and ethnicity on Texas A&Ms campus, we feel that an interdisciplinary approach to studying race and ethnicity provides us with the best means for understanding their significance. With this commitment in mind, RESI presents its 2009-2010 Speakers Series, made up of both 2008-2009 RESI Fellows and several external scholars. These scholars represent the disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, English, and Urban Public Health.
Texas A&M is fortunate to have faculty members in a variety of disciplines whose work is informed by a desire to understand how race and ethnicity in their various formations, have shaped our world. It is our hope that RESI will continue bring them together and encourage scholarly discussion through our workshops, working groups, colloquia and conferences. To this end, we would like to extend an invitation to all interested faculty to affiliate with RESI. However, we wish to emphasize that our mission of encouraging research in the field of racial and ethnic studies must not begin and end with Texas A&M University. Our ultimate goal is to develop and sustain a research community that includes faculty and graduate students at colleges and universities in the region in hopes that we might better examine the issues we face as an increasingly diverse society. We have attracted interest from our colleagues at other Texas campuses and we welcome them to attend our events in this and coming years. To this end, please check out our working groups.
Next year RESI will be presenting a Symposium dealing with Health Disparities, including both physical and mental health issues, and their intersections with race, ethnicity, culture, and color. The Symposium is being organized by Drs. Wendy Leo Moore, David Embrick (Loyola University), Joyce Bell (University of Georgia), and Verna M. Keith.
As always, we welcome your input and your participation in the months to come. Continue visiting our website in the coming months, as we will post information about upcoming events that are of interest to those in the field.
~Verna M. Keith