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David L. Brunsma
Race, Family, Evacuation
Location(s) of Work:
New Orleans

Current Institutional Affiliation(s)


David came to Mizzou from the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Notre Dame in 1998 and specializes in critical race theory, social psychology, sociology of education, and the sociology of culture.

My research program has multiple prongs. First, I investigate the strategies and negotiated manifestations of racial identity in the post civil-rights era as illuminated by the interplay of social structural, cultural/symbolic, interactional, and biographical/narrative life structures. These processes of identity formation and maintenance have been investigated through the lives and experiences of biracial people in the United States. The results have been published in several journals, edited volumes, as well as a book (with Kerry Ann Rockquemore), Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America (Sage Publications, 2001). We have just finished a Second Edition of Beyond Black for Rowman & Littlefield – this book should be available in early 2008. Along these lines, I am also currently working on a manuscript for a book tentatively called Race(ing) and E(race)ing the Child: Parental Strategies of Socializing the Multiracial Child (with Kerry Ann Rockquemore) - this study uses mixed-methodologies (in-depth interviews and nationally representative data of both 9-month old and 4-6 year-old mixed race children) and a critical race theoretical scaffolding.

Second, my work looks at another area where contested cultural and political meanings collide through symbolic codes-the public school uniform movement. I am one of the premier scholars in this area in the country, and my research on the impact of school uniform policies, the frames used to discuss uniform effectiveness in public schools, and the unintended consequences of such a movement for American students, has been influential in practitioners', parents, and scholars understanding this debate in a larger historical, political, cultural, and social context. The most recent results have been published in a book, A Symbolic Crusade: The School Uniform Movement and What it Tells Us About American Education (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2004). I am currently pursuing a Second Edition to A Symbolic Crusade as the school uniform movement, despite overwhelming evidence, continues to grow in the current American political and cultural climate. I have also recently published an edited volume collecting research from the last 10 years on school uniform policies that has never been published - these studies, dissertations, and reports now comprise School Uniforms: A Decade of Research and Debate (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006). Recent articles also include pieces in American Teacher Magazine, Principal Magazine, and The Audio Journal of Education.

Finally, I am committed to investigating and initiating ways in which scholarship can be actively used to combat structural racial and social injustices. Several projects are underway and some have already been published. My most recent book, Mixed Messages: Multiracial Identities in the "Color-Blind" Era (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006), brings together a myriad of leading scholars and asks them to question the implications of current racial formations and racial projects (e.g., multiracialism, color-blind ideologies, etc.) for the continued pursuit of racial and social justice in the United States. My critical autoethnography, “White Lives as Covert Racism” will appear in a book, Covert Racism (ed. Coates, Oxford University Press), in 2008. Concerning social and human rights, critical public sociologies, and substantive democracy, I am also co-editor on an important volume that will help to import human rights epistemologies into the social sciences – The Leading Rogue State: The U.S. and Human Rights (Paradigm Publishers, with Blau, Moncada, and Zimmer). In pursuing a more relevant and epistemologically grounded sociological enterprise, I have written for Societies Without Borders (with Dave Overfelt), on reparations (with James Michael Thomas), and on housing rights (with Dave Overfelt).

Current projects include: 1) A theoretical and methodological paper on a unique set of data that allow us to look at the identities of multiracials instead of solely multiracial identity – via a new concept, “identity matrices” (with Daniel Delgado and Kerry Ann Rockquemore); 2) A piece of critical race pedagogy which considers strategies to combat white privilege in the American university classroom (with Eric Brown); 3) A project investigating and interrogating the “multiracial movement” as both a movement and an invention – searching for an empirical referent (with Erica Childs); 4) collecting materials and data for a project assessing the (mis)use, (mis)interpretations, and methodological (mis) guidings of scholars across multiple disciplines (sociology, psychology, epidemiology, political science, education, etc) who utilize race concepts and operationalize (and subsequently interpret the findings from) race as a variable in their empirical models; 5) the possibility of a utopistic sociology through investigating the ways in which sociology (and other disciplines) actually work to reproduce various inequalities through their teaching and scholarship - I am working on an epistemology of social justice; and, 6) and possibly a book, on Critical Autoethnographies.

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