Roderick J. Watts
Campus Affiliation: CUNY Graduate Center
Degrees/Diplomas: PhD, University of Maryland, College Park
Training Area: Critical Social/Personality Psychology
Research Interests: Youth sociopolitical development and activism, Youth community organizing and civic engacement, Men's development (especially African American men), Liberation Psychology, Social Identity and Action Research Methodology
At the broadest level my interests are in social justice and liberation studies, which I see as a transdisciplinary endeavor. Evolving from my past interest in human diversity, particularly social identity and oppression, I have over the years settled into three areas of research and practice: (1) youth sociopolitical development, (2) African American cultural-racial identity, and (3) African American men's development.
Some highlights from my recent work in these areas:
• In "Critical Consciousness: Current Status & Future Directions" My co-authors and I review recent developments in theory and empirical research on Freirian approaches to liberation. It is part of volume titled: Youth Civic Development: Work on the Cutting Edge.
• A colleague and I recently submitted a grant proposal on international youth organizing to examine, among other things, the role of social identity in the political development of young people. This follows on the heels of a study I did on the same topic with support from the Spencer Foundation.
• What is the relationship between cultural orientation, healthy development, and sociopolitical engagement? I am interested in how unique intersections of history, culture, and oppression shape social identities. I currently direct research for a national initiative to advance African culture-based rites of passage programs for African American youth.
• My current work on manhood development includes a HIV-related preventive intervention using the "critical consciousness coaching" method I developed for African American male adolescents. Based on promising findings with rural Kenyan men, the National Institutes of Health funded a colleague's intervention research study with this population.