Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

In Memoriam: Mark Q. Sawyer, UCLA Professor of African American Studies and Political Science

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

In Memoriam: Mark Q. Sawyer, UCLA Professor of African American Studies and Political Science

Article excerpt

Dr. Mark Q. Sawyer was an internationally renowned scholar whose work on race and racism in Latin America, and racial attitudes in the United States earned him multiple awards and recognitions. Sawyer was a member of the American Political Science Association (APSR) editorial board (2007-2012), the APSA Task Force on Political Science in the 21st Century (2006-2011) and served on numerous APSA committees including the Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession (2006-2009) and the development committee (2011-2014), among others. He was an alumnus of the APSA Minority Fellowship (19941995) and served as an APSA Mentor, and was a supporter of APSA Centennial Center and Diversity Funds. In 2007, Sawyer received the APSA Ralph J. Bunche Book Award and the W. E. B. DuBois Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists for his book entitled Racial Politics in PostRevolutionary Cuba published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. This book analyzes the triumphs and failures of the Castro regime in the area of race relations, and places the Cuban revolution in a comparative and international framework and challenges arguments that the regime eliminated racial inequality or that it was profoundly racist. Through interviews, historical materials, and survey research the book maintains that Cuba has not been a racial democracy as some have argued. Hence, also, the book argues that Cuba has done more than any other society to eliminate racial inequality, although the book demonstrates how much of Cuban racial ideology was unchanged by the revolution as the implementation of market reforms and in particular tourism has exacerbated racial inequalities, and finally, the book holds that despite these shortcomings, the regime remains popular among Black people, because they perceive their alternatives of the U.S. and the Miami exile community, to be far worse.

Sawyer was a member of the faculty at UCLA since 1999, and co-founded the subfield of Race, Ethnicity and Politics (REP) in the UCLA Political Science department in 2006, thus, the program has since attracted large numbers of graduate students, especially African-Americans and Latinos. …

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