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Lauren Davenport
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Faculty Research Fellow, 2013-2014

Lauren Davenport is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Her general research interests include American politics, public opinion, and race and ethnicity. In particular, her work seeks to problematize the study of racial identity by examining the development of political group consciousness among the U.S. mixed-race population. Professor Davenport's current book project, Politics Between Black and White, assesses how social, historical, and economic processes help construct multiracials' identities and political outlook. Her other ongoing research projects examine the gendered nature of racial labeling, public attitudes towards interracial marriage, the policy ramifications of multiple-race identification, and the influence of coethnicity on voter support for political candidates. Professor Davenport received her Ph.D. from Princeton University; she also holds an M.A. from Princeton and a B.A. (with distinction) from the University of Michigan.

Her research centers around the construction of political and racial identification among the U.S. multiple-race population. Using survey data, she has found the largest and most consistently significant predictor of racial identification is gender. Specifically, women of mixed racial parentage are much more likely to identify with multiple races than are comparable men of mixed racial parentage. These findings seem to suggest that racial boundaries are sharper for biracial men and that it is more socially acceptable for biracial women to live in multiple racial cultures simultaneously. 

As a Clayman Fellow, she will investigate the reasons behind these gender disparities in racial identification. In particular, she will examine how the gendered nature of American racism and societal standards of beauty shape racial identification.  Her research projects as a Clayman Fellow will thus explore how gender, social class, and phenotype condition the external identification of racially ambiguous individuals.  For her fellowship, she will conduct online survey experiments to examine whether women who appear "racially ambiguous" in appearance are more likely than comparable men to be externally classified as multiracial.  She will also measure whether racially ambiguous men are seen as more threatening than similar racially ambiguous women.