Diversity Committee

Our Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

In the context of racial violence in 2020, the RSS Diversity Committee held a series of dialogues and convened with the broader membership to discuss the issue of racial equity in RSS. We recognize and condemn past and present forms of violence and oppression that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face in the United States and across the world. We also recognize how our own organizational history and structure has elevated the voices of white scholars, often to the exclusion of BIPOC scholars.

Our recent dialogue provides us with the building blocks necessary for addressing historical and structural issues which have not provided the support our BIPOC scholars deserve from our organization. To that end, we identified three main objectives: elevate and re-center BIPOC scholars and voices, address spaces of impact, and protect intellectual freedom. We propose 8 action items to achieve these goals and further strengthen RSS.

Elevating BIPOC scholars and voices

  • Recruit and retain BIPOC scholars, particularly graduate students
  • Elevating and re-centering, not assimilating, on BIPOC voices
  • Professional development of BIPOC scholars, especially at junior level
  • Recognize institutional and financial hurdles BIPOC scholars confront in professional engagement (e.g. costs for membership fees and conference travel and registration)
  • Extend outreach to BIPOC scholars and activists in non-elite institutions and organizations, especially minority-serving institutions and organizations

Spaces of impact

We recognize the value of all voices, and seek to increase the broader participation of rural scholars across sociology and related fields to take part in our organization and help shape the scholarly and intellectual direction of the discipline. We apply objectives of inclusion across different institutions where members have influence. This includes building relationships with activists and organizations already serving underrepresented and minoritized communities.

Protecting academic freedom and scholarly representation 

We are committed to protecting intellectual freedom within the academy and elsewhere, with the recognition that threats to intellectual freedom particularly target scholars and others conducting outreach and research on underrepresented groups, and research that utilizes critical epistemologies.

In affirming the aforementioned values and commitments, the RSS is implementing the following actions:

  • Expand travel scholarship funds to BIPOC scholars to support conference participation
  • Hold annual meetings in collaboration with minority-serving institutions and organizations, including in the site-proposal 
  • Advance proposals for a multi-year participatory action research project to support anti-racism initiatives within RSS
  • Establish a one-year fellowship for BIPOC graduate students
  • Expand funding opportunities to support original research on racial and ethnic inequalities at the graduate and post-graduate levels
  • Create a Du Bois career achievement award to annually acknowledge an RSS member’s lifetime commitment to working to alleviate racial and ethnic inequality
  • Institutionalize Indigenous land acknowledgments associated with the host site for each annual meeting 
  • Prioritize the organization of panels on the Indigenous ancestral land and waters related to the host site of annual RSS meetings


Rebecca Som Castellano Chair 2022-2025 [email protected]
  Chair-Elect 2023-2026  
Buddhi Gyawali apptd 2021-2024 [email protected]
Paige Kelly Past-Chair ???-2024 [email protected]