UIC sociologists receive 2022 ASA honors

Two University of Illinois Chicago sociologists have been named 2022 American Sociological Association award recipients, earning the highest honors the association confers.

Julie Dowling, UIC associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino studies, received the association’s Public Understanding of Sociology Award, which recognizes exemplary contributions to advance the public understanding of sociology, sociological research and scholarship among the general public.

Amanda Lewis, director of UIC’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, is one of two scholars selected to receive the association’s Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award for achieving excellence in their work in the intellectual traditions of Oliver Cox, Charles S. Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier, three African American scholars.

Dowling and Lewis will be honored Aug. 7 at an awards ceremony during the association’s annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Julie Dowling, UIC associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino studies
Julie Dowling, UIC associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino studies.

Dowling, whose research has focused on the U.S. Census and how definitions of race and ethnicity are understood by the Latino community, was selected for the ASA’s recognition because of her extensive efforts to translate her sociological research and expertise into strategies to ensure an accurate and inclusive count of the U.S. population on the 2020 Census. 

She served on the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations from 2014-2020, and chaired the committee from 2019 through the 2020 census. The association noted that she made important contributions to Census Bureau efforts to redesign how race is measured and to ensure that the methodology maximized the inclusion of hard-to-count and marginalized populations.

The award selection committee also highlighted her contributions to national, state and local conversations about the 2020 Census and her work to inform legislators, political groups, nonprofits and community organizations.

Her book, “Mexican Americans and the Question of Race,” explores the disjuncture between federal definitions and regional constructions of race, examining Mexican American responses to the race question on the U.S. census. She has published articles regarding racial identity in the Latino community in a variety of journals, such as Social Science Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, American Behavioral Scientist, and Latino Studies.

Dowling, who came to UIC in 2021, is currently working on a collaborative project funded by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation that examines Latino perceptions of government. The project draws on interviews conducted in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as original survey data from Illinois and California.

Amanda Lewis
Amanda Lewis, UIC professor of Black studies and sociology; director of UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy; and LAS distinguished professor. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Lewis, UIC professor of Black studies and sociology and distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences, conducts research focusing on how race shapes educational opportunities and how our ideas about race are negotiated in everyday life. Her work is credited for its impact on race, education, urban schools, social inequality and ethnography.

In announcing the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, which honors individuals or institutions with a record of outstanding work involving, but not limited to, social justice issues, human rights, activism and community efforts, the association points to Lewis’ career-long commitment to interrogating the interrelationships between racial inequality, socialization and education with the purpose of securing rights and opportunities necessary for all people to flourish with their dignity intact.

She is the author of several award-winning books, including “Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools” with co-author John Diamond, and “Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities.” Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Educational Researcher, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Urban Education, and Du Bois Review.

She has received numerous grants and awards including from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Spencer Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Field Foundation and the American Sociological Association.

As IRRPP director, she has co-authored a number of reports as part of the institute’s State of Racial Justice in Chicago project chronicling the experiences and conditions of racial and ethnic groups in the city. Lewis lectures and consults regularly on issues of racial and educational equity and contemporary forms of racism.

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