The Equity Center, U.Va.

The Equity Center

A UVA Democracy Initiative center for the redress of inequity through community-engaged scholarship



Grounded Theory of Structural Racism & Poverty

Community Directors: Don Gathers
Faculty Directors: Sophie Trawalter

Description: Develop and disseminate new theoretical contributions to community-engagement scholarship. During the next three years, the Equity Center will focus its contribution on improving the understanding of how to measure and translate knowledge into effective interventions that will impact the adverse effect that structural racism and poverty have on outcomes.



Out of Place: Socioeconomic Status, Use of Public Space, and Belonging in Higher Education
Trawalter, S., Hoffman, K., & Palmer, L.
Journal of personality and social psychology.
Lower-income, and Black and Brown students use public space on campus less than do higher-income, and White students. We find that use of public space on campus predicts and, in fact, leads to increased sense of belonging. This work has implications for equity. It suggests that, as an institution, we must ensure that our public spaces are inclusive; that means that they are welcoming to Black and Brown students; that Black and Brown students feel respected in these spaces; that Black and Brown students feel empowered to use them. Link

A socioecological psychology of racism: making structures and history more visible 
Trawalter, S., Bart-Plange, D. J., & Hoffman, K. M.
Current opinion in psychology.
Psychology has been accused of ‘psychologizing’ racism. Here, we summarize the argument that Psychology routinely neglects structural racism and historical legacies of racism. We then discuss two cases—healthcare and police use of force— in which studying individual bias could benefit from incorporating a focus on structures and history. Link