Beth Reingold, Kerry L. Haynie, and Kirsten Widner

Jan 31, 2022

Race, Gender, and Political Representation

Toward a More Intersectional Approach

Oxford University Press 2020

How do gender and race interact to affect the election, behavior, and impact of all individuals – raced women and gendered minorities alike? According to our authors, “what we know depends mightily on how we go about obtaining that knowledge.” Political scientists have often assumed that there are no gender differences among minority representatives, and no racial differences among female representatives. Race, Gender, and Political Representation: Toward a More Intersectional Approach (Oxford UP, 2020)examines HOW and to what extent political representation is simultaneously gendered and raced in the context of late 20th and early 21st century US state legislatures. Reingold, Haynie, Widner examine how gender and race interact to affect the election, behavior, and impact of individual state legislators. The analysis – and their substantive findings – demonstrate how intersectionality, as a critical epistemology, compels us to re-evaluate the study of gender, race, and representation. Without critically evaluating single-axis women-and-politics and race-and-ethnic-politics theories about descriptive representation, we miss the differences in obstacles to election, substantive policy contributions, or policy leadership styles among White women, men of color, and women of color. The book aims to both give us a more nuanced understanding of representation and an intersectional “tool kit” that others can use to answer critical political questions. Winner of the 2021 Richard Fenno, Jr. Prize for the best book in Legislative Studies.

Dr. Beth Reingold is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. Her previous books and articles engage questions about the complex relationships between gender, race, ethnicity, and political representation, primarily in and around legislative institutions in U.S. states.

Dr. Kerry L. Haynie is Professor and Chair of Political Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke University. His many books and articles interrogate how the underlying theory, structures, and practices of American political institutions affect African Americans’ and women’s efforts to organize and exert influence on the political system.

Dr. Kirsten Widner is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. As a lawyer, she represented children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and taught in the public policy and legislative advocacy clinics at Emory Law School. She helped advocate for laws in Georgia to address child abuse, human trafficking, and adoption. As a political scientist she focuses on how laws and policies that affect marginalized groups are made with a particular interest in the political representation of people without the right to vote – children, noncitizens, and people disenfranchised due to criminal convictions or mental incapacity. Her work has been published in both political science journals and law reviews.

Thank you to Nadia E. Brown for suggesting the book and Daniella Campos, the senior editorial assistant for New Books in Political Science.

Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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