Conor Hodges

Class of 2018

Hometown: Orlando, Fla.

What is your College Scholar project?
My course of study interrogates philosophic, historical, and political questions of equity and opportunity as they relate to the United States both in its domestic milieu and in its foreign policy. My coursework has ranged from the construction and consequences of gradated citizenship to the historical trajectory of black radicalism or the depressive effects of poverty on civic participation. I draw on History, Government, and Philosophy to better comprehend the discourse and mechanisms that articulate and perpetuate inequality in the United States, with a consciousness of inequality's effects on U.S. foreign policy and particular attention paid to dynamics of race, gender, and class.  My current project focuses on the interchange of ideology and praxis between foreign oriented projects of modernization and counter insurgency and domestic oriented projects of development and social management through carceral state expansion.

This past June I was honored to be accepted to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a doctoral preparation program that will provide me with further generous guidance and support in my scholarship and research.

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
Foremost in my Cornell experience has been the Telluride House. I'm immensely grateful to live in an intentional intellectual community that offers enriching interdisciplinary interchange and intense ethical education. I am further honored to serve as a director of the greater Telluride Association, administrating summer programs and residential university programs for promising youth. Outside of Telluride I serve as a research assistant to Professor Jamila Michener, as the Treasurer of the ALANA Intercultural Board, as student representative to the University Assembly's Codes and Judicial Committee, and as Chair of Cornell's Community Bill of Rights Working Group.

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
I spent my freshman and sophomore summers conducting archival research on my project while working as a counselor for the Telluride Association Sophomore Seminar, a six week academic summer program for precocious high schoolers with a focus on Africana Studies. Both seminars, Growing Up While Black: Coming of Age in Black-American Literature, Music, and Film with Professors Marlo David and LaMonda Horton-Stallings, and Are You an American Citizen? A History of a Complicated Question with Professors Ed Baptist and Minkah Makalani, explored the socio-political dynamics of racial inequity in ways that challenged and enriched my chosen course of study. 

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
My time at Cornell has solidified my intention to pursue a life of service and reflective inquiry, to pay back and pay forward the privileges and benefits I've been afforded. After my course of undergraduate study is complete I plan to pursue a PhD in History before most likely pivoting towards public service. Whether through community organizing, constructing policy, activism-research or the law, I hope to effect substantive political reform for the millions in this nation facing crushing social and economic inequality.