Carl Mardi Gras 05
Carl L. Bankston III
Department of Sociology
220 Newcomb Hall
Tulane University
New Orleans, La. 70118
phone: (504) 862-3024
fax: (504) 865-5544

Background and Interests

I began my academic work in sociology as a result of experiences in a previous career.  From 1985 until 1990, I worked as a supervisor in the Philippine Refugee Processing Center on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. We were preparing refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos for resettlement in the United States. After returning to the United States, I enrolled in a doctoral program in order to look at the consequences of sending thousands of people around the world. I wanted to see how the program of refugee resettlement had affected both the refugees and their host country. My second book, Growing Up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States (with Min Zhou, 1998) grew out of this inquiry.

Immigration has continued to be one of my major interests and I have worked on range of projects related to immigrant issues, but the study of Vietnamese children in American schools also led me to develop interests in questions of racial and ethnic identification and in sociology of education. As a native Louisianian, I was curious about the ethnic identifications of my own place of birth, as well as those of people who had recently come from distant lands. I worked on topics relating to Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles pursuing this line of inquiry. A series of journal articles led to the development of a book, Blue Collar Bayou: Louisiana Cajuns in the New Economy of Ethnicity (with Jacques Henry, 2002).

The sociology of education stream produced a number of studies, which culminated in several books. These included A Troubled Dream: The Promise and Failure of School Desegregation in Louisiana (2002), Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation (hardback, 2005; paperback, 2007), and Public Education - America's Civil Religion: A Social History (2009) (all with Stephen J. Caldas). My fundamental concern in all of these works has been how schooling as an expression of social relations undermines schooling as an instrument of social planning. The sociology of education work is, then, part of a more basic critique of social planning in general.

At present, I am working on several projects. I am collaborating with Katharine Donato and other colleagues on the study of new immigrant labor in Louisiana. I am working with a team led by Mark VanLandingham, of Tulane's School of Public Health, on the mental and physical impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Vietnamese population of New Orleans.  I am also working on a social history of ideologies of equality and inequality in the United States.

Research and Publications

Below are covers of several of my books, with links for more information, followed by links to copies of a number of published articles. The articles should not be reprinted or distributed without permission from the relevant publishers.

public education
Public Education - America's Civil Religion: A Social History
forced to fail 1
Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation
troubled dreamGrowing up Americanimmigration in US HistorySociology Basicsblue collar bayouend of desegregation