Race, Class, and Affirmative Action

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
8th Floor Barrows Hall, Social Science Matrix (map)
Sigal Alon
Associate Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, Tel -Aviv University & Author of “Race, Class & Affirmative Action”

No issue in American higher education is more contentious than that of race-based affirmative action. In light of the ongoing debate around the topic and recent Supreme Court rulings, affirmative action policy may be facing further changes. As an alternative to race-based affirmative action, some analysts suggest affirmative action policies based on class. In Race, Class, and Affirmative Action, sociologist Sigal Alon studies the race-based affirmative action policies in the United States and the class-based affirmative action policies in Israel. Alon evaluated how these different policies foster campus diversity and socioeconomic mobility by comparing Israel policy with a simulated model of race-based affirmative action and the U.S, policy with a simulated model of class-based affirmative action.


Dr. Alon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. Her main research interests include social stratification and mobility, with an emphasis on the sociology of education. Her work focuses on unveiling the dynamics and historical processes underlying class, gender, and racial-ethnic inequalities in educational attainment, and the extent to which do admission, retention, affirmative action and financial aid policies in higher education narrow these inequalities. Dr. Alon has published in leading journals in sociology, education and economics. Her research has been supported by grants from the Spencer Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Texas Higher Educational Opportunity Project, and Yad Hanadiv. She was a visiting fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.