May 2020 PAR Symposium

Public Administration Review (PAR) Symposium

Beyond Representative Bureaucracy: Race, Gender, and Social Equity in Governance

To be held at the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

May 27-28, 2020 

Symposium Organizers / Guest Editors: 
Leisha DeHart-Davis: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jasmine Johnson, Kathryn Newcomer and Sanjay Pandey: George Washington University

and Norma Riccucci: Rutgers University, Newark

Two women talk during a group event

Race, Gender, and Social Equity in Governance Symposium: Scope and Objectives

Well into the 21st century, race and gender continue to be major fault lines that continue to shape and have impact on our lived experiences.  Friction along these fault surfaces have created social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave voice to the longing for gender balance on the US Supreme Court in 2012 remarks, “And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say when there are nine, people are shocked.”  Nine men serving on the bench, for most of the history, was accepted in a matter of fact manner.  DeHart-Davis and Colleagues (forthcoming) call upon public administration scholars to question taken-for-granted assumptions and move beyond well-worn and comfortable theoretical perspectives.     

With Public Administration Review’s sponsorship, we are organizing a symposium to convene scholars to address the disconnect between the intensity and urgency of social concerns and the state of academic scholarship.  The state of scholarship on race and gender in public policy and public administration remains fragmented and somewhat disconnected with broader concerns in society.  Although there are some scholars conducting research relevant to race and gender in public policy and administration, these efforts do not inform each other and fail to synergistically work to create a virtuous circle. In order to move scholarship forward, we call for a focus on race, gender, and social equity to frame the symposium at The George Washington University on May 27-28, 2020.

The relationship between public administration and social equity came into sharp focus during the 1960s. A number of leading scholars over time– among them, Camilla Stivers, Mary Ellen Guy, Norma Riccucci, George Fredrickson, and Dwight Waldo – have observed that policy implemented by public administrators had benefits for some citizens but not others.  Since that time representative bureaucracy research has provided public administration scholars and practitioners theoretical and empirical research about the connections between passive and active representation in a variety of contexts (Sowa and Selden, 2003; Riccucci, Van Ryzin, and Li, 2016). There is a compelling need to move beyond representative bureaucracy framework and to embrace other emerging as well as  long-standing theoretical perspectives such as intersectionality and its impact on distribution or access to services (Bearfield, 2009; Breslin, Pandey, and  Riccucci, 2016; Wise and Tschirhart, 2000).

The purpose of the May 27-28, 2020 symposium is to inspire and share research that frames public administration and policy research on race and gender using a social equity lens. We are especially interested in theoretical and/or empirical research that helps shed light on understudied aspects of social equity, such as: how are (or might)  policy and programs designed to promote social equity, and how does an equity-focus enrich research and evaluation on the impact of public programs and policies.

Potential papers could address a variety of themes on race, gender, and social equity such as:  

  • approaches to achieving social equity in both the public and nonprofit sectors;
  • the application of frameworks from outside of public administration scholarship to studying race, gender and ethnicity in public service;
  • the role of gender and race in organizational dynamics;
  • gender, racial and ethnic disparities in public services;
  • the extent and impact of bias (directed at race, gender, veteran status, disability etc.) within public service bureaucracies;
  • how taking an intersectional lens can help in public service delivery;
  • normative and critical theory approaches to addressing the role of race and gender in public service;
  • how behavioral public administration can address gender, race, and ethnic disparities;
  • new avenues for representative bureaucracy research;
  • the impact of social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo on public service;
  • the impact equitable philanthropy has in local communities;
  • how human resource processes interact with social equity; and
  • how to address equity issues stemming from other differences such as LGBTQ, age and disabilities in public service. 


Editorial Process and Timelines:

Papers presented at the symposium will be considered for publication in a Public Administration Review (PAR) symposium.  Public Administration Review (PAR) will have the right of first refusal to consider manuscripts presented at the conference.  Proposals submitted by January 30, 2020 will be the basis for an invitation to develop and present a full paper at The George Washington University on May 27-28, 2020.  Authors are expected to use the feedback received at the conference to revise the paper and submit to guest editors for screening and evaluation.  Guest editors will provide further developmental feedback for authors to incorporate and invite a formal submission to PAR’s editorial system.  Manuscripts submitted to PAR’s editorial system will then undergo the manuscript’s rigorous double-blind review process overseen by PAR’s Co-Editors-in-Chief. The goal is to publish a PAR symposium within a year from the commencement of PAR’s double-blind review process.

  • January 30, 2020:  Submit to CORGES a 500-word proposal in MSWORD format (please be sure to provide author names, affiliations, and email addresses)

  • February 20, 2020:  Decision notification sent to submitting author

  • May 1, 2020:  Submit full paper to [email protected] for distribution to discussants (Note: All authors with papers accepted at the conference are expected to serve as discussants)

  • May 27-28, 2020:  Symposium will be held on the campus of the George Washington University beginning with a 5pm reception on May 27th and ending at 5pm on May 28.

  • June 30, 2020:  Submit revised papers to [email protected] (incorporating discussant feedback) for screening and developmental feedback by Guest Editors

  • July 31, 2020:  Guest Editors provide feedback on or before July 31, 2020

  • August 1-31, 2020:  Submission of revised manuscripts (incorporating Guest Editors’ feedback) to PAR’s online system indicating that the manuscript is being submitted for race and gender symposium.  (In addition, please email [email protected] indicating completed submission). 


Bearfield, Domonic A. 2009. Equity at the intersection: Public administration and the study of gender. Public Administration Review 69(3): 383-386.

Breslin, Rachel A., Sheela Pandey, and Norma M. Riccucci. 2017. Intersectionality in public leadership research: A review and future research agenda. Review of Public Personnel Administration 37(2): 160-182.

DeHart-Davis, Leisha; Hatmaker, Deneen; Nelson, Kimberly; Pandey, Sanjay K.; Pandey, Sheela; Smith, Amy. Forthcoming. Understanding Gender Imbalance in Public Service Leadership. Elements in Public and Nonprofit Administration, Robert Christensen and Andrew Whitford, eds. , Cambridge University Press.

Riccucci, Norma M., Gregg G. Van Ryzin, and Huafang Li. 2016. Representative bureaucracy and the willingness to coproduce: An experimental study. Public Administration Review 76(1): 121-130.

Sowa, Jessica E., and Sally Coleman Selden. 2003. Administrative discretion and active representation: An expansion of the theory of representative bureaucracy. Public Administration Review 63(6): 700-710.

Wise, Lois Recascino, and Mary Tschirhart. 2000. Examining empirical evidence on diversity effects: how useful is diversity research for public‐sector managers?. Public Administration Review 60 (5): 386-394.