Political Science

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    Department of Political Science

  • President Harrison and CSUN DC Interns, 2013
  • A Conversation with Gov. Michael Dukakis and Gov. Linda Lingle

Department of Political Science Statement of Support for Black Lives Matter

The Department of Political Science at California State University, Northridge stands against Anti-Blackness, racism, and violence perpetrated against Black communities. George Floyd was one of several unarmed Black men and women senselessly murdered by police and white vigilantes in recent months.  Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two armed white men while jogging in a South Georgia neighborhood. Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was killed by police in her apartment in Louisville. Tony McDade was killed by police in Tallahassee. In June, after weeks of protests, Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police in Atlanta in the parking lot of a Wendy’s. We pause to remember these individuals, because their lives mattered.  Although the disturbing reality is that there are numerous others, we want to honor the memories of all victims of racial violence, by saying the names of the following Black men, women, and children whose lives have also been taken:   Malice Green, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Atatiana  Jefferson, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin. As a department we condemn the racism, bigotry, callous disregard for human life, and state-sanctioned violence that led to their deaths. We recognize that our Black students, faculty, and staff  live with the constant fear that their names could be added to this list, and we affirm that their lives are precious and must be protected. The violence must stop!

White supremacy was a part of our nation’s founding documents and continues to be a malignant force in today’s sociopolitical institutions. As Americans continue to grapple with the reality of racial injustice and seek solutions, the department of Political Science affirms that All Black Lives Matter. We recognize that Black people experience disproportionate violence at the hands of the police and that indigenous people and other minoritized groups in this country have also been subject to this violence. We also recognize institutionalized racial discrimination and inequality in American health care, education, criminal justice, and so many other aspects of our society. These enduring problems will not change if the voices of the American people remain unheard. Current protests are the latest iteration of voices that are, once again, calling for change in this country. We support this movement and its call to reimagine and rebuild a more just world. As CSUN professors, we recognize that many of our students are among those on the front lines of this movement. We support our students’ free exercise of their First Amendment rights, as these rights are vital to the protection of all other rights. We condemn any and all attempts by governmental authorities to suppress our students’ fundamental civil liberties, as well as the anti-democratic efforts across the country to suppress the voting rights of Black voters and other voters of color. As long as Black Americans are disenfranchised, the promises of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 remain unfulfilled.

Social justice, civil rights, and diversity have always been core aspects of the department’s curriculum. We see the current movement as an opportunity to learn, move the conversation forward, and more directly communicate these values to our students and the larger community. To this end, faculty are discussing ways to better address systemic and institutional racism through our research, course offerings, teaching approaches, and student activities. We also plan to solicit feedback from our students on classes and programming the department could offer in the future. More information on these discussions and department activities will be made available this fall. In the meantime, we offer a suggested reading list on race and ethnic politics below. Additionally, we list the department’s Fall 2020 courses that directly address the relationship between race, ethnicity, and/or identity and politics. We pledge to continue and expand our efforts to educate, research, and discuss racial injustice in American and international politics.

Recommended Readings


Research Articles

Journalistic Articles

  • Losada, Paloma. “Addressing Structural Racism in Public Policy with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.” www.brookings.edu February 24, 2020.
  • McKamey, Pirette. “What Anti-Racist Teachers Do Differently.” www.theatlantic.com July 17, 2020.
  • Winfrey-Harris, Tamara. “The Reckoning Will Be Incomplete Without Black Women and Girls.” www.theatlantic.com June 14, 2020.
  • Wingfield, Adia Harvey. “Color-Blindness is Counterproductive.” www.theatlantic.com September 13, 2015.
  • Worland, Justin. “America’s Long Overdue Awakening to Systemic Racism.” www.time.com June 11, 2020.