Peniel Joseph
Job Title
Research Interests

I am intensely interested in the history of the modern Civil Rights Movement, its relationship with the Black Power Movement and black radicalism in general, and its impact of racial justice, democracy, and notions, debates, and ideas and struggles around citizenship. I am interested in the political thought and activism of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and their influence and impact on contemporary social movements, especially Black Lives Matter and movements promoting intersectional justice. I am also interested in the history of mass incarceration and its relationship to the civil rights movement and struggles for black citizenship.

In Fall 2015, Dr. Peniel E. Joseph joined the University of Texas at Austin as Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. He received a joint professorship appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values and at the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts. Prior to joining the UT faculty, Dr. Joseph was a professor at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where he also founded the school’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy to promote engaged research and scholarship focused on the ways issues of race and democracy impact the lives of global citizens. He received a B.A. from SUNY at Stony Brook and a Ph.D. from Temple University.

Dr. Joseph’s career focus has been on what he describes as “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science. He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy and civil rights, and has authored award-winning books: Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama. Dr. Joseph’s most recent book, Stokely: A Life, has been called the definitive biography of Stokely Carmichael, the man who popularized the phrase “black power” and led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as the SNCC. The recipient of fellowships from Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Ford Foundation, Dr. Joseph’s essays have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Chronicle Review, The New York Times, The Black Scholar, Souls, and American Historical Review. Dr. Joseph is a frequent contributor to Newsweek, TheRoot and Reuters, and, his articles, Op-Eds, and book reviews have been published in newspapers from The Washington Post to The New York Times. Dr. Joseph’s commentary has been featured on National Public Radio, The Colbert Report, PBS, and MSNBC.

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