Davin Phoenix

Davin Phoenix, political science associate professor, has been named an inaugural UCI Inclusive Excellence Term Chair Professor. The three-year appointment recognizes Phoenix for work completed and envisioned that addresses anti-Blackness and advances understanding about the Black experience at UCI and beyond.

In his proposal, Phoenix outlined his plan for working alongside the Office of Inclusive Excellence to create the Consortium on Power and Identity (CPI), a cross-campus research lab of faculty and graduate students whose research highlights the sociopolitical, economic, legal and health-related significance of Blackness, and identity more broadly. Consisting of workshops, working group meetings, and informal rap sessions, he sees CPI “playing a critical role enhancing mentorship and professional development of UCI’s Black graduate students and junior faculty while facilitating collaborations and publishing among faculty and students and providing a national showcase for the cutting-edge work on Blackness coming out of UCI.”

Phoenix joined the UCI faculty in 2014 following completion of his Ph.D. in political science and public policy at the University of Michigan. He specializes in research on how race interacts with various spheres of U.S. politics to shape the attitudes, emotions and behavior of everyday people and elites. His work has explored topics ranging from public opinion to the mobilization of marginalized groups. He’s the author of award-winning book, The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics, in which he explores how anger animates political participation differently among African, Asian, Latinx and white Americans. Drawing upon survey data spanning U.S. presidencies from Reagan to Trump, his findings detail how dissatisfaction with political figures pushes white voters to the polls while motivating minority voters – who as a whole express less anger over politics - to engage through other forms of activism.

His current work includes collaborative projects with academics and community organizers examining:

  • Sentiments and narratives that empower or demobilize formerly incarcerated individuals and their familial and communal networks;
  • Issue frames that facilitate or inhibit political coalition among Black and Latinx Americans;
  • Ways that legislators employ #BlackLivesMatter strategically in their social media messaging; and
  • Emotions that Black radical movements across different eras draw upon to drive their visions of liberation.

Phoenix is one of five faculty members selected for the IE Term Chair cohort. The inaugural group includes Tonya Bradford, associate professor, Paul Merage School of Business, Kaaryn Gustafson, professor, School of Law, Jessica Millward, history associate professor, School of Humanities, and Bryan Sykes, criminology, law and society associate professor, School of Social Ecology. The honor includes $30,000 per year to support programmatic activities.


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