Prof. Safarpour awarded grant to support work aiming to reduce racial prejudice

Glatfelter Hall
The Political Science Department is located in Glatfelter Hall.

In November, the Russell Sage Foundation’s program on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration awarded Political Science Prof. Alauna Safarpour a $75,000 Presidential Grant for her project entitled “Taking Perspective: Online Interventions to Reduce Prejudice and Increase Support for Racial Policies.”

Through her work, Safarpour develops a new theory to reduce racial prejudice and increase support for racial policies using scalable bias reduction interventions. Because the effects of prejudice remain unknown despite decades of research on the topic, Safarpour will combine research in political science, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience to evaluate the staying power of interactive, online interventions that encourage empathy and reduce anti-Black racism. This two-year grant will also allow her to pursue a second study that will provide benchmarks for those interactive interventions against alternative techniques.

Prof. Alauna Safarpour
Political Science Prof. Alauna Safarpour

“This work is an extension of my doctoral dissertation research, and I plan to combine these funds with existing grant funding from Gettysburg College; the American Political Science Association’s Centennial Center; and Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy to conduct the project,” said Safarpour, who served as the 2020 public opinion fellow at The Washington Post, where she assisted in polling on the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Presidential Election. “The project itself is a large, national survey experiment that examines the durability of various online interventions to reduce racial prejudice and help determine what is driving the success of these interventions.”

In the spring, Safarpour will share her research with students in her Race and Ethnic Politics course. This grant will allow her to secure the needed data that will extend the project and its impact to engage students in her research, where they will learn the process of research and analysis while devising new prejudice reduction interventions.

“It is incredibly meaningful to conduct this research here at Gettysburg College,” added Safarpour, who joined the College in August 2023. “The pursuit of political equality is the great ‘unfinished work’ that so many Americans gave their lives for in the Battle of Gettysburg 160 years ago. I hope that my research can help further the consequential education we provide our students here and hopefully inspire future leaders to commit themselves to improving American democracy.”

The Russell Sage Foundation, which was established in 1907, is dedicated to improving social conditions in the United States by funding projects like Safarpour’s to both better understand societal issues and discover actional solutions.

Learn more about Safarpour’s research interests and her work.

By Megan Miller
Photo by Sofia Gutierrez ’26 and courtesy of Political Science Prof. Alauna Safarpour
Posted: 01/15/24

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