Nuamah’s Paper Wins Second Award

Nuamah’s Paper Wins Second Award

Sally Nuamah Sally Nuamah's research looks at the political consequences of the punishment of Black women and girNorthwestern University’s Sally Nuamah received the Rodney Higgins Best Faculty Paper Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists for her work highlighting the link between the ‘adultification’ of Black girls and public support for their punishment.

The working paper, Public Perceptions of Black Women and Girls and Their Punitive Consequences, suggests that the American public views Black girls as older, more dangerous, and more savvy about sex, which can influence the perception that they deserve harsher punishments than their peers.

The findings raise serious questions about the consequences of Black girls' punishment for democracy at large because Black women have high rates of political engagement, according to Nuamah, assistant professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.

“Ultimately, given their superlative participation, one would expect the punitive experiences of Black girls to have lasting impacts on the future strength of American democracy – as they become voting-age adults,” Nuamah said.

Members of the awards committee called her paper "a fascinating read that adds much to our understanding about the punitive experiences of Black girls and has broader implications with respect to the current debates over criminal justice reform."

The paper also received the 2021 American Political Science Association's Best Paper on Intersectionality Award.  

In 2021, Nuamah won the 2021 Urban Affairs Association, Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award and the Comparative International Education Studies Association, Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award from the Comparative International Education Studies Association for her book How Girls Achieve.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/20/22