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Inequalities, Identities, and Justice

Protests against racism and structural inequality crescendoed in the United States and more than 60 countries around the world in 2020. At the Einaudi Center, researchers with regional specialties spanning the globe joined this world call for justice and accountability, launching Einaudi's racial justice global research priority.

As our work grew, our focus broadened to intersectional inequalities—in all places worldwide where marginalized groups struggle for access to resources, health, rights, security, and well-being. The Einaudi Center brings together faculty, students, and the campus community to identify and understand oppression; study the policies, systems, and institutions that perpetuate inequality and violence; and engage to create a more just world.

We support public scholarship and thought leadership to address inequalities experienced across the globe, including cleavages in society like race, religion, gender and sexuality, class, caste, language, and ethnicity. Our work begins on campus and extends to partnerships with international scholars and institutions.

Black student at protest on Cornell campus

Advocacy for Equality and Justice

Systemic and overlapping inequalities create barriers to achieving social justice on a global scale. Einaudi’s programs and faculty are working together to identify opportunities for transformative change: new and practical ways to understand, communicate, and act to reduce existing inequalities and build a future with equal justice and opportunities. Our research is part of Cornell’s commitment to public engagement and community action.

Here are some key areas of inquiry:  

  • How are hierarchies of race, class, caste, and other social identities constructed and maintained over time?
  • How do people experience social inequities and act to challenge them?
  • How is inequality institutionalized in different places and contexts?
  • What policy solutions will create greater equality and justice?

Faculty Leadership

Edward Baptist and Jennifer Newsom colead Einaudi's inequalities, identities, and justice research priority. If you're a researcher interested in contributing, please reach out by email.

Ed Baptist 2021

Edward Baptist: IIJ Faculty Fellow

Baptist's research focuses on the history of the 19th-century United States, and in particular on the history of the enslavement of African Americans in the South.

Read about Baptist's work with Freedom on the Move, a digital project to collect runaway slave ads that received a $1 million Mellon grant in 2023.

Jennifer Newsom AAP

 Jennifer Newsom: IIJ Faculty Fellow

As an architect, Newsom examines racial constructs in the context of built constructions, where these spatial metaphors act as mechanisms for connectedness and engagement.

Read about her afterimages installation, a metaphoric construction of witnessing explored through drawing, at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Recent Activity

Global Blackness: Black at Cornell

Black at Cornell town hall 2023 audience response

This successful town hall and community event kicked off Black History Month at Cornell in 2023. A capacity crowd of 200 students, faculty, and staff attended the IIJ-led event at the Africana Studies and Research Center on February 2.

The town hall explored what Blackness at Cornell means. Who defines it? What do Black people owe each other? And what should be done? The conversation continued over refreshments and music by DJ Ishion Hutchinson and student Esther Heller, an MFA candidate in poetry.

"We are hoping for a campuswide, honest, but ultimately useful conversation—a conversation that will bring changes,” said organizer Mukoma Wa Ngugi before the event. Read pre-event coverage in the Chronicle.

Black at Cornell town hall Feb. 2, 2023

Einaudi Center Publication

Four warias smoking at night in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Made-Up State: Technology, Trans Femininity, and Citizenship in Indonesia

By Benjamin Hegarty

Benjamin Hegarty contends that warias, one of Indonesia's trans feminine populations, have cultivated a distinctive way of captivating the affective, material, and spatial experiences of belonging to a modern public sphere (Southeast Asia Program Publications: December 2022).