Denison University’s 178th Commencement took place on Saturday, May 18. Watch the ceremony in its entirety including commencement keynote speaker Jennifer Garner ’94.
Dr. James joined the faculty at Denison in 2018 after completing his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. James aims to advance theories of social stigma in ways that will help reduce these persistent health disparities. Namely, rather than approaching stigmas as fixed “traits” that individuals possess (c.f. Goffman, 1963), he examines stigma as a dynamic and relational social psychological process to reveal how it reinforces and reproduces health-relevant social inequality. To this end, he is particularly interested in how race and stigma operate from the perspective of both perceivers (i.e., people whose perceptions and judgments stigmatize others) and targets (i.e., people who are the targets of stigmatizing perceptions and judgments). In one line of work on target perspectives, he investigates the true nature of racial self-stigma (i.e., internalized racism) and how it can influence racial/ethnic minority mental and physical health. With a second line of work on perceiver perspectives, he examines how stigma—via mechanisms of implicit bias, stereotyping, and prejudice—impacts people’s health-related judgments of racial/ethnic minority individuals and communities.