A research paper about women of color in politics by Annika Davies ’21, M’22, Blythe Young Hastings ’23, and Professor of Political Science Stefanie Chambers recently was published in 1619: Journal of African American Studies. The online peer-reviewed journal—a publication of the African American Studies Program at Central Connecticut State University, a part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system—is devoted to the multifaceted and interdisciplinary study of the African American experience.
Davies, Hastings, and their faculty adviser Chambers collaborated during the 2020–21 academic year to research, write, edit, and submit the article, “Doing It for Themselves: Women of Color and the 2020 Congressional Elections.” It provides an overview of the historic levels of representation achieved by women of color in the U.S. Congress in the 2020 election.
The abstract of the paper said that the authors drew on existing literature to “explore how these gains were possible and whether these historic numbers are an anomaly or something that will continue in future elections.” The research examined the history of women of color as voters and mobilizers, the barriers to political representation that women of color face, the role of political parties in the election of women of color, and the election of women of color in 2020.
Davies, who is from Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. with a double major in political science and economics and an M.A. in public policy, said she was particularly interested in Congress as an institution. “The type of legislation that moves in Congress is often dependent on the people who get elected to the body. Examining the success of women of color in the 2020 election can help to increase representation in the future and can also move legislation that would traditionally have been overlooked by the largely white, male Congress of the past.” She plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in political science.
Hastings, a political science major from California, said that she began studying the subject in a January Term class called “Gender and Politics” taught by Chambers. “After learning about the disparity between politicians working in Washington, I wanted to understand how these divisions were created, why they continue to exist, and how women of color are working to mitigate the effects of such divisions,” said Hastings, who plans to attend graduate school after graduating from Trinity next year.
Chambers said that many faculty members dedicate their careers to working at liberal arts colleges because they are passionate about creating meaningful educational opportunities for undergraduate students. “This is precisely the reason I work at Trinity,” she said. “Co-authoring with students is just one way I mentor those with a deep interest in political science research.”