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Professor Suzanne Oboler Named Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies

New York, NY, February 5, 2010 – Professor Suzanne Oboler of the John Jay College department of Latin American and Latina/o Studies has been selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies. She will study the changing meaning of race and blackness in Brazil, in the light of the relatively recent implementation of affirmative action in Brazilian higher education.

“Professor Oboler’s selection as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair brings great honor to John Jay, and provides important recognition of her scholarly contributions. This recognition will allow her to advance an important area of research and return to campus with new ideas to share with students and faculty,” said Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College.

Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program. According to the Fulbright Program, “candidates should be eminent scholars and have a significant publication and teaching record.”

Next spring, Professor Oboler will spend four months at the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where she will lecture on issues of race, immigration, citizenship and belonging among Latino/as in the United States. She will also continue her ongoing research on the flow and counter-flow of racial ideas in the hemisphere, by focusing on the changing perceptions and meanings of race and racial issues in public life and discourses in Brazil, a society that traditionally has placed almost exclusive emphasis on the class dimensions of inequality. An important component of her research will be the attitudes and views among Brazilians who have previously resided in the United States for some time, and how they integrate their US experiences and reflections, including their relations with both African Americans and US Latino/a populations.

A noted scholar on Latinos/as in the United States, Professor Oboler joined John Jay in 2007 and brought with her the international academic journal, Latino Studies (Palgrave Press, UK), for which she is the founding editor. She is the co-editor in chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia on Latinos and Latinas in the United States (OUP, 2005) and the author of Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of Representation (University of Minnesota Press, 1995). Her new two-volume Encyclopedia project focuses on Latino/a Social Movements, Politics, and Law. (OUP, 2011)

She is the editor of the recently published anthology, Behind Bars: Latino/as and Prisons in the United States (Palgrave, 2009), and of the edited collection, Latinos and Citizenship: The Dilemma of Belonging (Palgrave, 2006). She has also published a number of articles on race, citizenship, identity and national belonging in the Americas, most recently, “The Ironies of History: Puerto Rico’s Status and the Nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor” (2009), and “Race, Social Justice, and the Law in the Americas: Redefining the Terms of the Debate.” (2008). Professor Oboler teaches courses on race, citizenship, and the politics of belonging in the Americas; Latino/a studies; transnationalism and immigration; social movements, civil rights and the legacy of the 1960s; and cultural studies.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Latino Studies is an international, peer-reviewed journal. The principal aim of the Journal is to advance interdisciplinary scholarship about the lived experience and struggles of Latinas and Latinos for equity, representation, and social justice. The journal is committed to developing a new transnational research agenda that bridges the academic and non-academic worlds and fosters mutual learning and collaboration among all the Latino national groups.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit