Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Race, Class, and Affirmative Action

Sigal Alon, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel Aviv University

10/28/2016
12:30-1:30 PM PT
121 Raitt Hall

Race, Class and Affirmative Action (The Russell Sage Foundation, 2015) evaluates the ability of class-based affirmative action to promote the social and economic mobility of disadvantaged populations and boost diversity at selective postsecondary institutions, as compared with race-based policy. The book draws from within- and between-country comparisons of several prototypes of affirmative action policy. It uses the United States as a case study of race-based preferences, and Israel as a case study of class-based preferences. For each country the model that has actually been implemented is compared to a simulated scenario of the alternative policy type. The develops new, and more global insights about the potential of race-neutral public policy to promote equality in higher education.


Dr. Alon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. Her main research interests include social stratification and mobility, with an emphasis on the sociology of education. Her work focuses on unveiling the dynamics and historical processes underlying class, gender, and racial-ethnic inequalities in educational attainment, and the extent to which do admission, retention, affirmative action and financial aid policies in higher education narrow these inequalities. Alon’s perspective is interdisciplinary and comparative, taking into account educational processes and outcomes, institutional arrangements and social structures, psychological biases, as well as demographic and economic trends. Dr. Alon has published in leading journals in sociology, education and economics and her research has been supported by grants from the Spencer Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Texas Higher Educational Opportunity Project, and Yad Hanadiv.