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Contested Transformation
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Book description

Contested Transformation constitutes the first comprehensive study of racial and ethnic minorities holding elective office in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Building on data from the Gender and Multicultural Leadership (GMCL) National Database and Survey, it provides a baseline portrait of Black, Latino, Asian American, and American Indian elected officials - the women and men holding public office at national, state, and local levels of government. Analysis reveals commonalities and differences across race and gender groups on their backgrounds, paths to public office, leadership roles, and policy positions. Challenging mainstream political science theories in their applicability to elected officials of color, the book offers new understandings of the experiences of those holding public office today. Gains in political leadership and influence by people of color are transforming the American political landscape, but they have occurred within a contested political context, one where struggles for racial and gender equality continue.


‘Contested Transformation provides a treasure trove of valuable information about men and women of color in public office not found anywhere else. It really is the first of its kind. It no doubt will serve as the baseline reference for many other scholars.’

Beth Reingold - Emory University, Atlanta

‘With its focus on documenting the increases in women and men of color serving in elective office, this book is a significant contribution to understanding the implications of this trend, particularly observable at the subnational level of American politics. This stellar team of scholars presents an exceptional example of intersectional analyses that is critically comparative across and within groups. Indeed it is required reading for scholars interested in engaging the twenty-first-century realities of increased diversity in governing institutions.’

Wendy G. Smooth - Ohio State University

‘An indispensable resource and an instant classic, Contested Transformation opens a new window on studies of representation in the United States. Hardy-Fanta, Lien, Pinderhughes, and Sierra provide invaluable guidance for analyzing how elected officials of color of all genders are transforming American politics.’

Jane Yunhee Junn - University of Southern California

‘Contested Transformation demonstrates that much of the conventional wisdom about candidates and officeholders gets turned on its head when racial and ethnic minorities are centered in the analysis. The authors’ comprehensive data on minority elected officials at state and local levels, their comparative analysis across racial and ethnic minority groups, their focus on women of color, and their application of an intersectional lens make this book a unique and indispensable resource.’

Susan J. Carroll - Rutgers University, New Jersey

'As political contestation around hierarchy and inclusion - whether of race, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, or something else - heats up in the United States and elsewhere, citizens and scholars urgently need reliable information. They especially need information that is embedded in a strong, clear, empirically-grounded analysis. Along comes Contested Transformation, just in time. The study of minority groups’ constricted yet expanding political leadership would be valuable at any time, but at present it commands our attention as few other topics can do.'

Jennifer L. Hochschild - Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, Harvard University

'… this book is a must read for anyone interested in race, gender, representation, and the future of U.S. politics, and its strengths far outweigh any of the concerns mentioned.'

Christopher J. Clark Source: Perspectives on Politics

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