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Leveraging and valuing diversity, race and inclusion to advance the well-being of the American democratic project


For much of the late 20th century, and a great deal of the early 21st, race, diversity and inclusion have been understood as America’s third rail. You go there and sparks fly, injury follows, and death, if no more than metaphorically, results. This need not be the case and cannot be allowed if we are to grow and sustain the prosperity of our democracy.

Our Compelling Interests entails the continued development of a Princeton University Press book series on the value of diversity for democracy and a prosperous society by the same name of the initiative that Dr. Earl Lewis co-edits with Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University--Newark. This series launched in the fall of 2016 with an overview volume and several contributors. Two subsequent volumes have been published to date on when diversity is a bonus, and why we can’t talk about diversity without talking about faith traditions and interfaith relations. The fourth volume will discuss the failure of colorblind solutions to unequal education in the US. With the aid of a steering committee, additional publications are being conceived.

With the U.S. scheduled to have a non-white majority by 2044, how we think and learn about this new diversity is critical to how we frame and consider social policy. This series aims to summarize, in a lively, accessible and digestible format, first-rate research for a range of audiences. We are distributing the results in partnership with conventional media, sites of public engagement such as the New York Public Library and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and partners committed to non-partisan approaches to key topics, such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.