Amanda Sahar d'Urso is new Department of Government-QSS post-doctoral fellow

The Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) at Dartmouth College welcomes Amanda Sahar d'Urso, a joint Guarini Dean's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Government and QSS. Most recently, Dr. d'Urso has been finishing up an article that is forthcoming at Perspectives on Politics. This article discusses how White Americans operationalize who is White. In her article, Dr. d'Urso shows that White Americans consider both country of origin and religion when labeling others as White and that the boundaries of who falls within and outside of Whiteness ensure that privileges of Whiteness are only reserved for those deemed sufficiently White. Moreover, religion plays a key role in who White Americans determine are White.

Dr. d'Urso will be spending most of her time at Dartmouth developing her dissertation into a book project, tentatively titled, In the Shadows of Whiteness: Middle Eastern and North African Identity in the US. Dr. d'Urso's approach to studying race and ethnic politics in the United States takes into account: 1) how politics and political institutions shape ethnoracial identities and 2) how individuals and society understand ethnoracial identities. In her proposed book, Dr. d'Urso questions notions of Whiteness and White identity through the case of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and Muslim individuals. MENA identity in America offers a critical case study on Whiteness. In the U.S., MENA individuals have been classified as White since as early as 1909. Legal classification aside, there is reason to believe the "White" label is no longer fitting. The American public may not identify MENA individuals as White, and MENA individuals may not self-identify as White. To study MENA identity, Amanda uses statistical approaches, including survey experiments, conjoint experiments, and random forest models, and qualitative methods, including historical analyses, archival research, and in-depth interviews. Focusing   on how Whiteness is defined and reified allows d'Urso to contextualize the marginalization of ethnoracial groups otherwise defined as White but nevertheless have experienced racialized discrimination (i.e., White MENA and Latinx individuals, Muslim and Jewish people).

In the Spring of 2023, Dr. d'Urso will teach "Ethnoracial Identities in Politics and Society": This course will focus on understanding ethnoracial identities that do fit into existing state-sanctioned ethnoracial categories and the unique quantitative challenges for studying and understanding these identities. The goals of the course are to develop a nuanced understanding of ethnoracial identities beyond existing categories, and how to apply those nuances to quantitative work. The topics we will focus on include: 1) Ambiguities of Whiteness, 2) Ambiguities of Blackness, and 3) Multi-ethnoracial identities. We will study these topics primarily through a quantitative lens. The culminating project will be centered on quantitatively studying ethnoracial groups without state-sanctioned ethnoracial labels.

Prerequisite: a basic statistics course (e.g., ECON 10, GOVT 10, MATH 10, QSS 15, SOC 10) or permission of the instructor.