New Social Sciences collective focuses on inequality research

How do natural disasters impact wealth equality in the U.S.? How does inequality impact the administration of elections? How can research make a bigger impact in offering all children a better education?

Danielle King presents during the first CORISE event. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Danielle King presents during the first CORISE event. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

These are some of the topics studied by Rice University researchers affiliated with the newly launched Collective for Research on Inequality and Social Equity (CORISE). Housed in the School of Social Sciences, it brings together faculty and students whose teaching and research interests center around social fairness and inequity – whether racial, gender, religious, economic, educational, political or based on anything else — here in Houston and beyond.

Interim Dean Susan McIntosh said the group’s aim is to showcase commitment to inequality issues throughout the university and demonstrate the importance of these topics to the mission of the School of Social Sciences.

“Over a third of our faculty do research in this area,” she said, noting that CORISE will have five research clusters: Health and Environmental Equity; Democracy, Voting and Social Justice; Education; Employment and Opportunity; and Mobility and Migration.

“Each includes faculty from multiple departments,” McIntosh said. “By bringing them together, we hope to facilitate cross-disciplinary conversations that lead to new collaborations and insights.”

Funded research initiatives housed under CORISE include Building Research on Inequality and Diversity to Grow Equity (BRIDGE), the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC) and the Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP), with more affiliated groups expected in the future.

The group hosted its first event Jan. 29, when eight researchers from the school presented lightning talks about their respective areas of study. The subjects ranged from food insecurity among children to the intersection of housing and education inequality. A full list of topics and presenters is available here.

McIntosh said future events will include both faculty and students. Later in the semester, CORISE will hold a poster competition featuring the research of graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

For more information on CORISE, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.