The Forgotten Origins of Race-Conscious Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Anthony S. Chen
Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC - 6 avril 2018
  • Image Jess Cadorette, "Julie's Graduation!" (CC BY 2.0) Image Jess Cadorette, "Julie's Graduation!" (CC BY 2.0)

Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC 2017-2018

98, rue de l'Université 75007 Paris - salle Annick Percheron

vendredi 6 avril 2018 de 11h30 à 13h

Anthony S. Chen

The Forgotten Origins of Race-Conscious Affirmative Action
in College Admissions

Anthony S. Chen (Northwestern University)This presentation chronicles the little-known advent of race-conscious affirmative action programs in American college admissions. Drawing on intensive research in archival manuscript collections, it argues that the initial impetus for such programs began to emerge in 1963 as a result of action on the part of racially liberal college administrators who believed that their institutions had a responsibility to constructively engage the larger society they served - a larger society that was then being challenged and transformed by the civil rights movement. It was in 1963 that certain selective institutions began explore ways of going beyond non-discrimination, recruiting “disadvantaged” applicants from racially segregated high schools and conceiving of new methods for assessing academic merit. It was in 1963 that race was “braided” into the idea that a diverse student body was educationally beneficial. In short, what began to emerge in 1963 was affirmative action - many elements of which still remain with us today.

Anthony S. Chen is Associate Professor of Sociology in Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences at Northwestern University. 

University of Pennsylvania’s campusUniversity of Pennsylvania’s campus, 1964 (US News and World Report,  May 25)

Registering is mandatory for non-Sciences Po attendees: bernard.corminboeuf(at)sciencespo.fr