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RSF Bulletin

New Funding Priorities for August 5 Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) has long supported social science research with the aim of improving social and living conditions in the United States. In response to the crises of 2020, the foundation is dedicating its next funding cycle exclusively to research that seeks to improve our understanding of these extraordinary times. The severe consequences of the Covid19-pandemic, including its economic disruptions, and the recent mass protests to combat systemic racial inequality in policing and other institutions have reaffirmed the importance of social science research examining economic, political, racial, ethnic, generational, and social inequalities relevant to public policy and social change.

For its August 5, 2020, deadline, RSF will only accept letters of inquiry relevant to one of RSF's core programs, and which address at least one of the following issues:

  1. Research on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting recession in the U.S. Specifically, research that assesses the social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences of the pandemic, especially its effects on marginalized individuals and groups and on trust in government and other institutions. Our priorities do not include analyses of health outcomes or health behavior.
  2. Research focused on systemic racial inequality and/or the recent mass protests in the U.S. Specifically, research that investigates the prevalence of racial disparities in policing and criminal justice and their social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences; the effects of the current social protest movement and mass mobilization against systemic discrimination; the nature of public attitudes and public policies regarding policing, criminal justice, and social welfare; and the effects of those attitudes in the current political environment.

For its subsequent, November 11, 2020, letter of inquiry deadline, RSF will return to accepting letters of inquiry in three of its core programs, which have and will continue to focus on many of the causes and consequences of the crises of 2020.

Please click here to read the announcement of our priorities.


Two New Trustees Join RSF Board

RSF is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its board of trustees effective at its November 2020 board meeting.

David Leonhardt is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and columnist at The New York Times. Alondra Nelson is president of the Social Science Research Council and the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Read more about RSF’s newest trustees here.


RSF Announces Visiting Researchers for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

The foundation is pleased to announce the selection of three visiting researchers for the 2020-2021 academic year: Gary Alan Fine (Northwestern University), Shamus Khan (Columbia University), and Sunita Sah (Cornell University). While in residence at RSF, they will pursue research and writing projects that examine the engagement of older people in social justice activism (Fine), tracie the economic and political history of American elites (Khan), and investigate the psychological effects of conflict-of-interest disclosures (Sah).

Please click here for more information about the new visiting researchers.


RSF Welcomes 2020-2021 Visiting Journalists

Four visiting journalists will be in residence at the foundation in Spring 2021: Clara Hemphill, Tracie McMillan, Mosi Secret, and Melissa Segura. Their projects reflect RSF’s goal to further interactions between journalists and social scientists seeking to better understand current social, economic, and political conditions.

Please click here to read more about the incoming visiting journalists.


Visiting Scholar Application Deadline

RSF’s visiting scholar program, established over thirty years ago, provides a unique opportunity for social scientists to pursue research projects that investigate essential questions on social, economic, and political life in the U.S. while in residence in New York City. The program fosters the exchange of ideas in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and promotes collaborations between researchers. Applications are reviewed by outside experts; final selections are made by RSF trustees. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will be accepted until June 25, 2020.

View further information about the program, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.


RSF Authors Win Notable Book Awards

RSF book authors Tod Hamilton (Princeton University), María G. Rendón (University of California, Irvine), Scott Frickel (Brown University), James R. Elliott (Rice University), Pamela Herd and Donald P. Moynihan (Georgetown University) have received awards for their recent RSF books.

Hamilton’s Immigration and the Remaking of Black America (2019) has won the 2020 Otis Dudley Duncan Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Social Demography from the Sociology of Population section of the American Sociological Association. Rendón (University of California, Irvine), author of Stagnant Dreamers: How the Inner City Shapes the Integration of Second-Generation Latinos (2019) was jointly awarded the 2020 Robert E. Park Award for Best Book by the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Rendón also won the 2020 Distinguished Contribution to Research Award from the Latino/a Section of the American Sociological Association and Honorable Mention in the Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award awarded by the ASA's International Migration section. Frickel and Elliott, authors of Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities, were jointly awarded the 2020 Robert E. Park Award for Best Book from the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Herd and Moynihan (Georgetown University), authors of Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means, (2018), were selected for a book award from the Public and Nonprofit Section of the National Academy of Management.

Read more about RSF books and purchase copies here.


RSF Scholar Daniel Nagin on the COVID-19 Pandemic in Prisons

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects people across the U. S., its negative public health and financial impacts have disproportionately been borne by marginalized communities and individuals, especially those involved with the criminal justice system. Unable to practice social distancing and with insufficient access to handwashing facilities and personal protective equipment that would help mitigate transmission, the incarcerated and correctional officers are at high risk for infection. Criminologist Daniel Nagin (Carnegie Mellon University) spoke about these issues in a conversation published on the university’s website, “Prisoners, Police, and the Pandemic.”

Read more of Nagin’s thoughts about the emerging crisis in the nation’s jails and prisons here.


RSF Scholars Contribute to Research on Asian Americans

The May 2020 celebration of Asian/Pacific American heritage month coincided with the rise of hate crimes and violence directed towards Asian Americans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many RSF scholars were cited in recent media about how Asian Americans are faring during these challenging times, including RSF authors Jennifer Lee (Columbia University) and Grace Kao (Yale University) and RSF scholar Vivian Louie (Hunter College, City University of New York). PBS recently premiered Asian Americans, a documentary film series exploring the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian American immigrants to the United States and their descendants. Incoming visiting scholar Mae Ngai (Columbia University) features prominently in the first episode. RSF celebrates the work of scholars who examine both the historical and contemporary contributions of Asian Americans to American public life and ongoing struggles for equality and social justice for all Americans.

Read more about these scholars’ important contributions here.


How to Apply for Funding at RSF

For more information on RSF’s grant making process, please visit our website to review our grant writing guidelines and view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.

RSF program staff will host a webinar on how to apply for foundation grants on July 13, at 2 p.m. ET. Please click here to register for the webinar.


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