Research Projects


Racial Violence Research


There is growing public, research, and policy interest in the legacy of historical racial violence, and the related challenges of transitional racial justice in the United States.

This series of studies and initiatives aims to assist in documenting, analyzing, and engaging this living history of racial violence, to promote understanding and effective redress.



Youth Justice Research


A series of studies examining the idea and practice of juvenile justice, a system imagined as a “manufactory of citizens,” where wayward youth might be remade as “normal” and productive members of society.

My work examines racial politics of this liberal idea and institutional practice, and exclusionary racial politics of American juvenile justice, historically and today. This historical perspective on race and informs contemporary research, policy, and advocacy.



Justice Workforce Research

Paul-Cephas-Howell 2

My interest in the “justice workforce” (an array of service workers and professional with varied status and authority) stems from historical expectations that protection under law depended on representation among legal authority. There are countless examples of the importance of such representation (e.g., Judges Thurgood Marshall and Jane Bolin), and yet, formal integration has not institutionalized racial justice.

This series of studies and initiatives examines this idea of racially democratic social control (i.e., equally participatory), theoretically and empirically, and involves practical effort to support greater participation, including in academics.