Learn more about Dr. Stokes' research
and academic work investigating today's issues.




My research investigates how power is structured, coded, mis-recognized, and reproduced. In particular, I focus on power and inequality through my work on race and ethnicity, politics, sexualities, and Native American studies with an orientation towards macro-causal analysis and theory building.





The Politics of Recognition


Who is included or excluded from the global society of states affects everything from international conflicts and treaty making to national identity and civil rights. Few people, however, think to question why we politically identify countries like the United States and China as "states" but don't recognize the statehood of others like Palestine, Tibet, or Taiwan in a process called "political recognition." Fewer still understand how political recognition is shaped by a larger political institution that shapes the future of entire nations. This project, encompassing multiple research articles, uses case studies, historical and comparative analysis, and postcolonial theory to argue that political recognition conceals and reproduces global inequalities that trace to the colonial-imperial foundations of Western societies. A key contribution of this work is to decolonize knowledge of political recognition and to identify how political recognition operates as a structuring institution to predict and explain how and why actors gain or fail to achieve political recognition as "states" or "tribes."

In a separate theoretical article, I explore what postcolonial theory has to contribute to the study of international political recognition. Previous studies have yet to engage in a sustained analysis of political recognition from a postcolonial perspective. I argue in this work that the institution of political recognition, and by extension research on political recognition, reproduces and conceals a colonial imperial status quo. A key contribution of this work is in its expansion of postcolonial theory to unexplored state dynamics of state recogntion and in identification of how political recognition shapes and is in turn shaped by race and colonialism.

To date, this research has produced peer-reviewed publications in the International Review of Sociology (2019) and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal (2012) as well as multiple papers presented at the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. This program of research builds the foundations for a scholarly book to begin in 2024 on the sociology of recognition as an institution spanning micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis.




Reconceptualizing and Contesting Power


Few topics are as central to the social sciences as the question of power. And yet even as researchers study power to better understand and free us from the inequalities it produces, canonical definitions of power universalize Western ideology and reproduce an imperial legacy. This work challenges the canon by using overlooked Native American perspectives to reconceptualize power. It also will expand understanding of the relationships between Native American peoples, Western society, and how power has evolved between them.

In a related article, I will use historical and comparative methods to investigate similarities and differences surrounding power dynamics involved in politically motivated racism and homophobia. Of particular interest is using historical and comparative methods and case studies of the women's rights movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the LGBT rights movement to identify why people claim religious freedom to discriminate against LGBT people but do not make similar claims to discriminate against women or people of color. I argue in this work that religious freedom is not under attack, but that claims to the contrary represent strategic attempts to steer public discourse and re-frame oppressors as under siege in order to insulate power and privilege.

In another related article, I will compare and contrast modern LGBT use of the slur "qu**r" with use of the "N-word" slur by people of color as historical case studies to identify structural forces shaping the use of these slurs. I further argue that, even when used in an affirmative sense or as part of acts of resistance to bigotry, self-deprecating referential slurs can have unintended effects of internalizing hate, normalizing bigotry, and empowering those who discriminate. This work builds on my work on power, sexualities, and politics begun in my peer-reviewed book chapter, "The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19" (Policy Press 2020).




"The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19"

The American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is in a medical and political crisis. Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, politics and widespread discrimination lead to significant disparities in LGBT medical rights and healthcare outcomes. These pre-existing LGBT healthcare disparities have since become exacerbated by the pandemic. Often overlooked in larger discussions about LGBT people and the pandemic is a larger social problem: LGBT healthcare disparities amplified by the pandemic are set to magnify LGBT social and political inequality on a national scale. In addition, the pandemic has contracted space in public discourse and media coverage - which is needed to advance LGBT equality - creating new opportunities for exploitation to advance anti-LGBT political agendas. With the growing impact of the novel coronavirus, the LGBT community faces new threats and a contraction of critically needed resources and space in which scholars, advocates, citizens, and policy makers can discuss and effect social change. Read more in "The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19," appearing in the peer-reviewed book Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19, edited by Glenn W. Muschert, Kristen M. Budd, Michelle Christian, David C. Lane, and Jason A. Smith (Policy Press).

The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19


"Political Opportunities and the Quest for Political Recognition in Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine"

This paper introduces a political opportunity approach to conceptualizing the political recognition of states in the international system. The usefulness of the approach is demonstrated through a comparative analysis of the historical trajectories of Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine in their attempts to become recognized as nation-states. I argue that political opportunities, alignment of interests, timing, and external patronage created political recognition outcomes observed for entities like Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine. Recognition outcomes took multiple forms and included opportunities for recognition as well as whether or not a state government recognized these entities as independent states. More broadly, I argue that recognition outcomes for the cases in question are shaped by a larger political structure that I describe as the 'opportunity structure for recognition.' Read more in "Political opportunities and the Quest for Political Recognition in Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine," appearing in the International Review of Sociology.

Read Political Opportunities and the Quest for Political Recognition in Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine


"Native American Mobilization and the Power of Recognition"

Native American civil rights and social justice are often limited by tribal recognition. Learn more about how tribal recognition shapes and constrains Native American mobilization and collective action with DaShanne's article, "Native American Mobilization and the Power of Recognition: Theorizing the Effects of Political Acknowledgement," appearing in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal (pdf).

Read Native American Mobilization and the Power of Recognition





Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19

Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19

Edited by G. Muschert, K. Budd, M. Christian, D. Lane and J. Smith. 2020. Bristol, England: Policy Press.

Read Dr. Stokes peer-reviewed book chapter, "The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19," appearing in Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19.





The University in Your Future

Edited by P. M. Lowentrout. 2001-2008. Long Beach, CA: California State University, Long Beach.

DaShanne Stokes' article, "Sage, Sweetgrass and the First Amendment," originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, was reprinted as a chapter featured in eight separate volumes (2001: Pp. 61; 2002: Pp. 33; 2003: Pp. 28; 2004: Pp. 20; 2005: Pp. 40; 2006: Pp. 29; 2007: Pp. 72-73; 2008: Pp. 71-72) of The University in Your Future, a textbook published by California State University, Long Beach.




I am always interested in collaboration opportunities with fellow scholars. To reach me about collaboration, please contact me.




If you’re one of my students and are interested in gaining research experience, please click here and read this document to learn more about becoming a research assistant.