Ann Morning, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Sociology, has been named to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.
The National Advisory Committee advises the federal agency on variables that affect the cost, accuracy, and implementation of Census Bureau programs and surveys, including the once-a-decade census. The committee also provides advice on topics such as housing, children, youth, poverty, privacy, race, ethnicity, and sexual-orientation issues, the bureau said in its announcement.
“The expertise of this committee helps the Census Bureau in producing high-quality statistics,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director. “By helping us better understand a variety of issues that affect statistical measurement, this committee ensures that the Census Bureau continues to provide relevant and timely statistics used by federal, state, and local governments as well as business and industry in an increasingly technologically oriented society.”
The National Advisory Committee members, who serve at the discretion of the Census Bureau director, are chosen to serve based on their expertise and knowledge of the cultural patterns, issues, and/or statistical needs of “hard-to-count” populations. The new members will be seated on Aug. 1.
Morning, one of 10 new members appointed to the committee, is the author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press, 2011), which finds that today’s American high-school textbooks, in both the social and biological sciences, tend to teach that race is a biological characteristic of the human body rather than a social construct.
The work, which uses interviews with biologists, anthropologists, and undergraduates, explores different conceptions of race and examines how scientists are influencing ideas about race through teaching and textbooks. She also discusses new genetic accounts of race and considers how corporations and the government use scientific research—for example, in designing DNA ancestry tests or census questionnaires—in ways that often reinforce the idea that race is biologically determined.
Morning has received the American Sociological Association’s Dissertation Award (2005) and a Fulbright scholarship to spend the 2008-09 academic year at the University of Milan-Bicocca.