Kenneth Prewitt

Columbia University

Kenneth Prewitt (Fall 2007), Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University, will work on a book tracing the history of racial classification in the U.S. census. He will chart the evolution of the underlying purpose of the “race question” from one of overt discrimination against slaves, ethnic minorities, and immigrants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through more recent efforts to ensure that historically undercounted groups are accurately counted and thus receive a fair allotment of federal funding. He will carefully dissect how changing notions of race – what it means and how it is constructed – affect both scientific under-standing of social processes and public policy. He will conclude with policy recommendations for how future censuses might deal with the issue of race.

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