Our Team


Michael C. Dawson (pictured left) is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. He has written Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (1994), Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Ideologies (2001), Not in Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics (2011), and Blacks In and Out of the Left: Past, Present, and Future (2013). Michael Dawson is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago.

Megan Ming Francis (pictured right) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She specializes in the study of American politics, race, and the development of constitutional law. She has written the book Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (2014). Currently, she is working on a book project that examines the impact of the criminal justice system on the political and economic of the South after the Civil War.

Project Members and Fellows

Maniza Ahmed is the Project Administrator. She recently graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, where she studied race relations and social movements. Maniza has also attended Mount Holyoke College, where she double majored in economics and sociology. She now produces the Race and Capitalism Project’s podcast series New Dawn.

Meghan Wilson is the Post-doctoral Research Fellow in race and capitalism. Her research interest centers on questions of financial markets, political institutions and marginally situated people—with a focus on urban centers. Meghan’s current manuscript details the relationship between public finance and political participation in the State of Michigan during financial crisis. Using mixed methods, Meghan studies voters’ relationship to local government in the midst of crippling debt and drastic cuts to public services. Her other work considers institutional legitimacy, housing, and democratic theory as they relate to marginally situated people. Meghan was born and raised in metropolitan Detroit, MI.  She holds a B.A. in political science from Spelman College, a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University. 

Emily Katzenstein is the Project’s Predoctoral Fellow and a PhD candidate in political theory at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation traces the emergence and legacy of an actuarial conception of justice in insurance and credit markets in the late 19th and early 20th century, and its implications for conceptions of racial justice in the present. Her research interests include critical theory, the history of black political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth century, theories of racial capitalism and normative theories of economic and racial justice. Emily holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago (2016), an MPhil in Political Theory from the University of Oxford (2014) and a BA in Politics and Eastern European Studies from the University College London (2012).

Alfredo Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He helped launch the podcast New Dawn as its previous producer while he completed his PhD in political science at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, “Other than Honorable: The Rise and Decline of Citizenship-for-Service, 1918-1965,” historically explores how non-citizens are recruited to shoulder the obligations and responsibilities of American citizenship by serving in the military without a guarantee of legal citizenship in exchange for their service, known as, “citizenship-for-service.”

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