CAAPS provides an intellectual infrastructure for social science research on the political, social, and economic conditions
A cutting-edge research unit that facilitates collaborative research within and across disciplines


The Center on African American Politics and Society (CAAPS) provides an intellectual infrastructure for social science research on the political, social, and economic conditions affecting black communities. It aims to support theoretically sophisticated and policy-informed research among Columbia faculty, using a variety of methods and approaches that intersect various disciplines, including political science, psychology, sociology, law, economics and urban studies. The center aims to:

Be a cutting-edge research unit that facilitates collaborative research within and across disciplines

Conduct conferences and workshops, support graduate studies in the social sciences on the black experience

Encourage undergraduates to pursue graduate studies on topics that inform black communities through teaching and mentoring

With its emphasis on policy-relevant research, the Center on African-American Politics and Society aims to bridge the center's research with the needs and concerns of policy and community-based actors who work within and in behalf of black communities.

Our Affiliates
  • Fredrick C. Harris is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center on African American Politics and Society at Columbia University. His research interests include American politics with a focus on race and politics, political participation, social movements, religion and politics, political development, and African-American politics.

    Fredrick C. Harris

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  • Carl Hart is an Associate Professor of Psychology in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University. A major focus of Hart’s research is to understand complex interactions between drugs of abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology. He is the author of the award-winning book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society.

    Carl Hart

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  • Valerie Purdie-Vaughns is Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind (LIRSM) at Columbia. LIRSM incorporates insights from a range of disciplines—including psychology, sociomedical sciences, education, and legal scholarship—to develop a more robust understanding of how differences between social groups (e.g., with respect to, age, gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, social class, power) affect human behavior.

    Valerie Purdie-Vaughns

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  • Geraldine Downey is Professor of Psychology and Director of Research for the Justice Institute at Columbia. The mission of the Justice Institute is to reduce the nation’s reliance on incarceration through education, research, and policy. Her research has focused on the personality disposition of rejection sensitivity (RS). This line of work has led her to study sensitivity to rejection based on personal, unique characteristics, as well as sensitivity to rejection based on group characteristics such as race and gender.

    Geraldine Downey

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  • Ira Katznelson is an Americanist whose work has straddled comparative politics and political theory as well as political and social history. He is the author of many books, including, "Black Men, White Cities," "City Trenches: Urban Politics and the Patterning of Class in the United States," and "When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America."

    Ira Katznelson

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  • Jeffery Fagan is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia. His research and scholarship focuses on crime, law and social policy, and current research examines capital punishment, racial profiling, legal socialization of adolescents, the jurisprudence of adolescent crime, and perceived legitimacy of the criminal law. Fagan provided testimony for President Obama's Twenty-First Century Tasksforce for Policing.

    Jeffrey Fagan

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  • Courtney D. Cogburn is an assistant professor at the Columbia School of Social Work. Her research integrates principles and methodologies across psychology, stress physiology and social epidemiology to investigate relationships between racism-related stress and racial health disparities across the life course. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Cogburn research has been published in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology and the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2nd Edition, Volume 3 (126-131).

    Courtney D. Cogburn

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