About Us

Launched in the summer of 2001 by Charlton McIlwain (New York University), a communication scholar, and Stephen Maynard Caliendo (North Central College), a political scientist, the Project on Race in Political Communication addresses a gap in systematic research on the intersection of race, politics and communication. 

The aims of the project are to : 1) engage in social science research that centers on the existence and effects of racial messages in political discourse; 2) make available historical and contemporary research and data related to race, politics and communication; and 3) provide tangible examples of and providing commentary about the myriad ways that racial messages have been and continue to be invoked in government, news media and popular culture.

Together, they have co-authored Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Elections (Temple, 2011) and also co-edited The Routledge Companion to Race & Ethnicity (Routledge, 2010). From 2006-2009, Stephen and Charlton also ran the blog THIS WEEK IN RACE to apply social science and critical studies concepts to current events in a way that was accessible to the mass public. Responding to increased demand for academically-informed public discourse, the blog This GUEST on Race was launched in the fall of 2008. Stephen and Charlton have spoken together and individually at colleges, universities, high schools and community events, and they have become regular contributors to international, national and local mass media stories about the role of race and language in American politics. Race Project research has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (through the grantee Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences), New York University, North Central College and Avila University.  

The Race Project team would like to thank all of the Research Assistants who have helped out since the inception of the Project. If you are a student who would like work on the Race Project, send an email to SMCaliendo@RaceProject.org.


Stephen Maynard Caliendo is Professor of Political Science at North Central College. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University and focuses his research in the areas of political communication and political psychology. He is the author of Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise (Westview, 2011). His book Teachers Matter (Praeger, 2000) examines the effects of political socialization on attitudes toward American political institutions. He is a regular analyst for international, national, state and local media outlets.  Download CV here.

Charlton McIlwain is Associate Professor of Media, Culture & Communication at New York University. He is author of the forthcoming book Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, From the AFRONET to Black Lives Matter (Oxford University Press). Professor McIlwain has provided expert commentary on a wide range of social issues for state, national and international media including CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times,National Public Radio, the Associated Press, Reuters TV, O Globo (Brazil), Le Monde (France), CTV (Canada) and many others. Before working in academia, he worked as a communications director for congressional and gubernatorial candidates and for the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Download CV here