New Business Development Associate Samantha Yi can’t get enough of conferences – so she attended the DCC Annual Conference at the University of Pennsylvania just for fun! Sam shares her experience and takeaways from the conference in today’s blog post.

This year’s Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism annual conference was called Citizenship on the Edge: Sex/Gender/Race. The theme: to examine “the struggles of vulnerable groups to gain or maintain their status as full citizens, recognizing at the same time that the edge they inhabit can be a cutting edge.”

Conference Learnings on Equality

Panel on Masculinity

In a three-person panel on Masculinity, From Margin to Center, Professor Charles Mills of CUNY Graduate Center outlined the challenges that men of color face in navigating masculinity. Mills lamented philosophy’s waning role in addressing the “big picture,” suggesting that philosophers take a deeper look at race, gender, and the categories of personhood and sub-personhood.

Professor Erez Aloni of Whittier Law School discussed the triad of inequality, wealth, and marriage. He identified key wealth factors that create and continue a cycle of economic masculinity among the wealthy. This cycle can prevent non-traditional families from ever seeing upward mobility.

Finally, Professor David Eng of the University of Pennsylvania closed the session with thoughts on overlapping themes. Professor Eng highlighted commonalities between the two papers and the themes of race, marriage, and masculinity. He concluded that seemingly fair laws can be driven by a social agenda that leaves out marginalized communities.

Key Takeaways

To create a more level playing field, we need to think about histories and legal precedents. In education, it’s critical to understand the challenges that students from different backgrounds face if we’re to provide them with tools to navigate higher education.

I’ve always appreciated researchers who investigate structural problems and are open to seeing problems from different angles and backgrounds. Dr. Lindsay Page and Dr. Ben Castleman’s work on the impact of texting in education is one example of this: behavioral science meets education policy research to produce new insights for education practitioners. Attending this conference gave me a chance to investigate my own conceptual framework about equality and how to open paths of opportunity to vulnerable groups, like the students we at Signal Vine hope to support.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Professors David Eng and Charles Mills for inviting me to attend the DCC conference, to Professor Erez Aloni, and to DCC for hosting the conference.

Further Reading

Charles Mills:

“‘I Am a Man’ and ‘I Am Not Your Negro’: Negotiating Black Masculinity under White Supremacy”

Erez Aloni:

“The Trinity of Inequality: Wealth, Marriage and Inequality”

About the author: Samantha is a Business Development Associate at Signal Vine. Samantha has experience working for non-profits and has a passion for social policy. You can find her on LinkedIn