The Initiative for the Study of Race, Gender, Sexuality and the Law

PRYSM is a multidisciplinary institute organized to facilitate and support USC scholars’ research on race, gender, sexuality and the law.  Our primary goal is to provide greater opportunity for public engagement with USC scholarship and expertise in our core focus areas. PRYSM will facilitate the participation of a broad cross-section of constituents inside and outside of the University community, seeking engagement from community activists, government officials, local residents, students and esteemed scholars.  We are guided by the principle that some of the best insights about social marginalization bubble up from the communities we serve rather than being top down solutions and analyses from experts imposing their views.

To this end, PRYSM believes we best advance equity by scholarly engagement and intellectual collaboration with a diverse array of voices from different institutional positions. Our goal is to provide the USC intellectual community and networked schools with access to key intellectual voices exploring how the law can disrupt inequality and injustice caused by discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality and other bases for social marginalization.  Discussions will give scholars and community activists space to critically explore how the law reinstantiates economic and social subordination.

PRYSM achieves these goals by providing four opportunities to the USC and USC Gould community, with the larger goal of shaping national conversations:


Elevating and promoting the work of key thinkers exploring issues of race, gender and sexual orientation-based bias.


Coordinating symposia, conferences and on-line learning opportunities that will allow scholars to intensively explore issues of social marginalization.


Offering opportunities to explore new legal structures to achieve utopian visions of the federal and state administrative and regulatory agencies, ones committed to the eradication of race, gender and sexual orientation-based bias.


Critiquing, evaluating and reconstructing traditional diversity programming with the goal of advancing our understanding of the range of persuasion and consciousness-raising techniques.