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Biography

Dr Lisa Kingstone is an affiliate of the Department of International Development and currently a Visiting Scholar at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She received her BA from Barnard College, her MA from Columbia University and her Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in English Literature.

Lisa was previously a Senior Teaching Fellow with the Department of International Development, and before that, taught English Literature at the University of Connecticut from 2003-2012. A professional journalist as well as an academic, Kingstone has written for a variety of national and international publications. She has spoken about race on BBC radio 4, LBC Radio and organised panels at Southbank Centre, London on race and gun violence. She also was awarded a British Council grant for working with teens who lost parents in the 9/11 attacks. 

Research

Her book, 'Fading Out Black and White: Racial Ambiguity in American Culture' looks at America's shifting demographic, which means that non-white and multiracial indeterminate faces will soon outnumber the white majority. Drawing upon literature, film, culture and sociology, it asks how a nation that was built on the binary of black and white is negotiating the frontier of racial ambiguity. It explores how the new boundaries of race in America are manifested, recalibrated and recalculated through the filter of culture. 

Read more on her website: lisasimonekingstone.com

She continues to explore ways of linking analyses of literature and discourse with sociological theory and studies of media and culture. Her new book project focuses on work around ‘Othering’ and ‘Belonging.’ What makes it possible for an outsider to enter and find ease in a particular group? How does ascribed identity contribute to one’s ability to merge/blend or belong? And what are the factors that make an established group decide to accept a new member? 

She is using the town of Montclair, NJ as a case study because it has been described as a mecca for interracial harmony and has the highest rate of intermarriage in the country.  She will explore the ways this narrative of Montclair as exceptional utopian racial community is sustained.  Two institutions have been crucial for both the positive integration of the town, but also the promotion of the narrative: the integrated churches and the YWCA. These will be where focus groups and an ethnographic study can be conducted.