Dara Stolovitch

Dara Z. Strolovitch

Professor of Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies, American Studies, and Political Science, Yale University

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About Dara

Strolovitch’s research explores the challenges to equal political representation in a society marked by inequalities, and how these obstacles are best confronted. She assesses the gains made by groups such as women, racial minorities, gay men and lesbians, and low-income people since the 1960s. Strolovitch examines the mechanisms that complicate progress for marginalized groups, drawing on her study of political representation; interest groups and social movements; the causes and consequences of American political inequalities; and the politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality. She has served as a consultant to Occupy Minneapolis on model legislation aiming to reduce corporate influence on state government; as a co-facilitator in the Feminist Leadership Fellows Program for executive directors of women’s non-profit organizations; and as a member of the Editorial Board of Black Directions.


In the News

Opinion: "Gauging the Influence of Public Interest Groups," Dara Z. Strolovitch (with Matt Grossman), The Monkey Cage, October 31, 2011.


"Intersectionality in Time: Sexuality and the Shifting Boundaries of Intersectional Marginalization" Politics & Gender (forthcoming).
Examines the potential pitfalls of progress in the area of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights. Explains that developments such as the mainstreaming of LGBTQ issues, the repeal of “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell,” and the legalization of same-sex marriage in some states are complicated, as the rights and respectability they make possible for some gay men and lesbians reinforce inequalities that marginalize or disadvantage others.
"When Bad Things Happen to Privileged People: Marginalization, Representation, and the Construction of National Crisis," Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, April 30, 2010.
Finds that the two major political parties and Members of Congress have become increasingly likely to label things “crises” that demand swift and decisive action, but that they rarely do so when it comes to persistent “bad things” that affect marginalized groups. Shows that problems such as long-term unemployment, poverty, discrimination, illness, degradation, and stigma are instead treated as intractable problems that will not benefit from the massive resources devoted to crises.
"A Tale of Two Cities: The 2008 National Party Conventions Study and the Politics of Protest" (with Joanne Miller, Michael Heaney, and Seth Masket). CURA Reporter 40 (2009): 18-24.
Shows that protest activity is fueled by a potent combination of trust in the political system on the one hand and dissatisfaction with specific policies or outcomes on the other hand. Because protesters are more likely than the general population to be members of political organizations – particularly labor unions – local civic and political environments influence the level of protest in different cities.
"Affirmative Advocacy: Race, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics" (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Finds that organizations that represent women, racial minorities, and low-income people in national politics typically give short-shrift to issues affecting subgroups of their constituencies that face more than one form of discrimination or disadvantage. Many organizations try to remedy this inequity through a form of representation that Strolovitch calls affirmative advocacy – a set of principles that aims to overcome entrenched but often subtle biases against people at the intersection of more than one marginalized group.
"New Orleans is Not the Exception" (with Paul Frymer and Dorian Warren). Du Bois Review 3, no. 1 (2006): 37-57.
Argues that the effects of catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina should not be understood as exceptions to the “normal” functioning of society but rather as the products of broader and very typical elements of American democracy.
"Playing Favorites: Public Attitudes toward Race- and Gender-Targeted Anti-discrimination Policy" National Women’s Studies Association Journal 10, no. 3 (1998): 27-53.
Finds that discriminatory racial attitudes and ideas about the proper role of government explain support for race-based anti-discrimination policy but not support for analogous policies that are aimed at women. These findings help to illuminate why support for affirmative action for women is less controversial and generates more public support than analogous programs targeting race.