Gina E. Miranda Samuels has been appointed faculty director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, Provost Ka Yee C. Lee announced.
Miranda Samuels, associate professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, will assume the role on Sept. 1. She will succeed C. Riley Snorton, professor of English Language and Literature, who has served as the center’s interim faculty director since September 2020.
“Gina is the ideal scholar to lead the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture into its next chapter,” Lee said. “She is deeply committed to the center and its innovative scholarship on race and ethnicity and will collaborate closely with campus and community partners to advance the center’s important mission.”
In her research, Miranda Samuels uses critical standpoint epistemologies and interpretive methods to explore processes of displacement, belonging and healing among persons whose early childhoods include transracial adoption, foster care or homelessness. Her work identifies dimensions of social policy and practice that are often rooted in biocentric and monocentric notions of race, family and home, rendering them ill-fitting and often harmful to the well-being and healthy development of many young people and families.
During her 20 years at the University, Miranda Samuels has been a CSRPC faculty affiliate and has held leadership roles on numerous committees, task forces, and initiatives. She has also received several awards for her research, mentorship, and teaching. Miranda Samuels currently serves on the Council of the University Senate, the Committee of the Council, and is a member of numerous editorial boards and national boards of directors, including the Society for Social Work Research.
She received her PhD and MSSW in social work and social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her BA in social work at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Since its founding in 1996, CSRPC has fulfilled vital functions on campus as an institute devoted to the study of race. It supports scholars and artists across the University and city, engages with communities on the South Side, hosts conferences and workshops, and supports a range of projects among faculty and students.
In her role, Miranda Samuels also will partner with the University’s new Department of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity to develop innovative programing, outreach and other resources to further the study of race.
“It is from a place of great passion for CSRPC’s mission, and deepest respect for the center’s staff, students, faculty affiliates, and current faculty director Riley Snorton, that I am both honored and excited to take on this new role,” Miranda Samuels said. “It is my genuine commitment to continue the strategic planning work that is well underway, to create new partnerships and deepen existing ones, and to collectively reimagine a center that profoundly realizes its goals of a transformative praxis of scholarship that, in partnership with people and communities, can be used to advance their thriving and flourishing in today’s world and beyond.”