Mica Pollock is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. An anthropologist of education, she studies how adults and youth struggle to analyze and resolve fundamental questions of inequality and difference as a routine part of their everyday lives. Her new book, Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School (Princeton University Press, 2004), pinpoints six core problems of talking and not talking in racial terms that plague everyday actors in education. The book introduces to race theory and educational practice Pollock’s concept of “colormuteness,” or the consequential deletion of racial labels in informal and policy discourse.
Before joining the faculty at Harvard, Pollock worked in the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, investigating and addressing claims of discrimination in schools on the bases of race, national origin, gender, and disability. At Radcliffe, she will analyze the disputes over what “counted” as discrimination that were central to her everyday work experience at the Office for Civil Rights. She will write a book building ethnographically on this experience, exploring core arguments among school, community, and government players over defining the discriminatory treatment of children.
Pollock is the recipient of numerous grant awards for her projects, which also include an ethnographic investigation of everyday analysts’ theorizing achievement gaps in Boston (the “Boston Inequality Analysis Project”) and a new international ethnographic research project examining youth political organizers who analyze and address social problems transnationally (“Global Youth/Global Justice”). She received her MA in anthropology and her PhD in anthropology of education from Stanford University.