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ASA and NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University
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D. Diego Torres’s current research extends in three directions, among which the first two are related and make up the bulk of his dissertation. His first line of inquiry seeks to elucidate the specific ways in which familial culture, biology, and the intersection between the two help shape children’s early cognitive and academic development. Addressing the other side of the determinist coin present in the burgeoning field of differential psychology and behavior genetics, Torres’s work in this area highlights the ways in which standard sociological explanations of social stratification by race and class can be confounded. Torres’s second line of inquiry also concerns children’s development in the early and primary school years, though it centers explicitly on the intragroup differences in outcomes deriving from the various familial and school cultures of Native Americans across the United States. Spanning theoretical frameworks such as the “cultural intelligence” and “segmented assimilation” and assimilation/acculturation hypotheses, and seeking a synthesis among them, this area of research is somewhat novel; its greatest import, however, is that it contributes to a Native Americanist sociology of education literature about which there continues to be a scarcity of quantitative research. Comparative and historical in its methodological approach, Torres last line of inquiry seeks to understand the obvious discrepant ends of liberty and equality and how the unquestioned and common belief that the two are compatible, or even synonymous, has led to both the atomization of the individual (vis-à-vis the destruction of the family, neighborhood, church, and voluntary association—or what Tocqueville referred to as intermediate institutions) and the growth of the administrative state. Understanding what this portends for the return to first principles or to the re-establishment of civil society will become, according to Torres, increasingly paramount in the coming years if current economic and social trends continue unabated.
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