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New professors hone into their research and plans in the ILR School.

October 2, 2020

New Professors Discuss Racial Justice Awareness in ILR Curriculum

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In an effort to develop the next generation of academic leadership and include talent from a range of backgrounds, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations hired nine new faculty over the past year.

Prof. Tejasvi Nagaraja and Prof. Duanyi Yang are a part of this new cohort, both of whom work in the labor relations, law and history department.

Both professors are spending this semester focusing on their research, writing and making preparations for teaching classes in spring 2021.

Yang’s research investigates how organizational management policies operate within different institutional contexts in the face of globalization. More specifically, she is interested in how policies and practices affect the organizational behavior and welfare of traditionally disadvantaged groups.

Continuing her research from her Ph.D. program, she intends to further focus on gender inequality, worker’s well beings and worker’s capacity to voice their concerns. However, due to COVID-19, like many other scholars, she has faced roadblocks and difficulties with conducting her work.

“Since the COVID outbreak, all the data centers across the country and the world are closed,” Yang said, explaining how her plans to pursue international labor research have been halted due to travel restrictions.

Transitioning from graduate school at MIT’s Sloan School of Management to a labor relations school proved to be a “new and exciting opportunity” for Yang as the school encourages students to learn about labor laws and histories, not only the management side of labor.

“I think it’s beyond my expectations because I feel like my new colleagues are pretty open to sharing their experiences in this difficult time,” said Yang.

Next semester, Yang will teach ILRLR 2050: Labor Relations and ILRLR 4012: Managing and Resolving Conflict.

Nagaraja arrived at Cornell after a one-year appointment as a visiting faculty scholar at The New School. His research considers how labor and working-class history intersects with Black American and foreign relations history.

Nagaraja is working on a book that stems from his doctoral dissertation, diving into the transformative effect of World War II on every region of the world.

“I’m writing about how some things that we think of as sort of domestic policies and domestic issues, issues of race and class, issues of labor and the economy, of racial justice and criminal justice, actually played out inside U.S. foreign policy and U.S. military policy,” Nagaraja said.

Beginning spring 2021, Nagaraja will teach ILRLR 1100: Introduction to U.S. Labor History.

“In a time in which I’m teaching about issues of fairness in the economy, of racial justice and as those questions come up, I want to offer a historian’s perspective and teach my students ways of historical thinking and critical thinking,” Nagaraja said.

He hopes to provide his students with a historian’s perspective and critical thinking skills, enabling them to tackle questions of economic, racial, social and global justice in their lives, both inside and outside of the classroom.

“For everybody on the planet, it’s a difficult year,” Nagaraja said. “Within that, I feel fortunate to be joining the Cornell community, even as we navigate this very tricky and very stressful time.”