In the summer of 2001, Charlton McIlwain (New York University), a communication scholar, and Stephen Maynard Caliendo (North Central College), a political scientist, launched The Project on Race in Political Advertising to address what they recognized as a gap in systematic research on the intersection of race, politics and language. Recognizing that the scope of Project was broader than the name reflected, they changed the name to The Project on Race in Political Communication in 2002.
Later that year, they launched Race-Project.org in order to share their findings with others, as well as provide a resource to students and colleagues who study race and political communication. Shortly thereafter, the folks at PBS were abandoning the domain “RaceProject.org,” which was set up to promote and support their groundbreaking documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion, and graciously contacted Stephen and Charlton to ask if they would like to have the address. After four years of posting occasional updates and brief analysis at RaceProject.org, Stephen and Charlton began THIS WEEK IN RACE to apply social science and critical studies concepts to current events in a way that was accessible to the mass public. They maintained that blog from 2006 to 2009. In 2007, the RaceProject.org Facebook Group was created and later replaced by the popular RaceProject Facebook Page and associated Twitter feed, providing more opportunities for discussion of issues relevant to race, politics and language. Responding to increased demand for academically-informed public discourse, the blog This GUEST on Race was launched in the fall of 2008.
Race Project research has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (through the grantee Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences), New York University, North Central College and Avila University. More than a dozen professional papers and the forthcoming book Race Appeal (Temple University Press 2011) have emerged from the Project. Stephen and Charlton have spoken together and individually at colleges, universities, high schools and community events, and they have become regular contributors to international, national and local mass media stories about the role of race and language in American politics. They are co-editors of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Race and Ethnicity.
The RaceProject team would like to thank all of the Research Assistants who have helped out since the inception of the Project. If you are a student who would like work on the Race Project, send an email to SMCaliendo@RaceProject.org.