Dr. Ranita Ray
Associate Professor and Maxine Baca-Zinn Endowed Professor
Describe your research in about 200 words.
I am interested in how racially and economically oppressed children and youth navigate schooling and labor systems, and how racial and gender violence, racial capitalism, and academic and public discourses impact them. My last book, The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City challenges commonly held wisdom that targeting “risk behaviors”–such as drugs, gangs, violence, and teen parenthood–in marginalized communities will break the cycle of racialized poverty. Instead, I attempt to reflect on the sociology of inequality, poverty, and mobility by drawing on Black and Third world feminisms to ask novel questions—while centering the voices and critiques of young Black and brown people—about the nature of the reproduction of racialized class in the US. I am currently working on a book and several articles (supported by NAEd/Spencer Foundation as well as Racial Democracy Crime and Justice Network) based on four years of ethnography within a range of educational institutions in a large metropolitical school district in southwestern US, as well as interviews with teachers and administrators and archival research, to theorize contemporary schools in the US within a broader global legacy of schools as sites where institutional violence is enacted.
What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?
It is important to remain vigilant in our pedagogical practices.