Black Scholar Spotlight

In solidarity with the global anti-racism movement, we at Mobilizing Ideas want to contribute to the fight against anti-Black bias in the academy by amplifying the voices of Black scholars whose work deals with social movements (broadly defined). Our next dialogue will be a platform that lists the work and contact information of Black scholars. We have two primary goals for this platform: 1) to enable social movement scholars to immediately begin reading and citing the work of Black scholars with more intentionality; 2) to provide a resource for members of the press to easily contact Black scholars for their social movements expertise. We ask Black scholars who want to participate to e-mail 1-2 sentences about your expertise, contact information, and a picture to : so we can create a blog post with their information. Lastly, we thank Black scholars for their persistence in the face of white supremacy. Their work matters, contributes to the canon, and deserves more recognition.

Editors in Chief,

Rory McVeigh, David Ortiz, Grace Yukich and Daisy Verduzco Reyes


Many thanks to our contributors:

Aisha Upton

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota. My research agenda is focused on race, gender, and social movements. My current work examines how Black women’s voluntary associations interact with social movements. My dissertation, “Roses and Revolution: Black Sororities’ Responses to the Black Feminist Movement from 1968-1980” is a comparative-historical project that highlights how mainstream organizations can be affected by radical movements. 






Amaka Okechukwu

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Mason University. Central questions that animate my research agenda include: How do social movements produce and respond to racial politics in the post-civil rights period? How has social policy developed in response to the demands of social movements? And how might social movements shape or reflect urban social and spatial relations? My book To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions (Columbia University Press 2019) won the 2020 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (Division on Racial and Ethnic Minorities). I am currently working on a new book project concerning community organizing in Black neighborhoods in Brooklyn during the urban crisis.         


Angelica Loblack

I am Angelica (Jelly) Loblack, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland. My research agenda centers around the changing meanings and conceptions of blackness and how these differentially inform diasporic consciousness, racial and ethnic identity, and calls for racial solidarity in political movements. Specifically, I interrogate how distinct processes of racial socialization and racialization work together with persistent exposure to anti-Blackness and racism to motivate Black immigrant and multiracial involvement in anti-racist activism and race-based social movements.


Twitter: @whyso_jelly





Ashley Cole

I am Ashley Cole, originally from the USA but residing in the UK as a final year PhD student and a teaching assistant in sociology. My thesis is on leadership within social movement organisations with a case study on the Black Lives Matter chapter-based organisation. My area of expertise extends to black studies, media, and politics.


Twitter: @Ashleychercole


Ashley Crooks-Allen

Ashley Crooks-Allen (They/Them) is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia, where they focus on Black immigrant identity and racialized social movements. Their dissertation, tentatively titled “Mestizaje Undone: A Qualitative Social Media Analysis of Afro-Latinx Identity & Social Movements”, takes a  qualitative approach to understanding how Afro-Latinx people use social media to make identity claims in relation to the Black Lives Matter Movement.


Twitter: @Lyrical_Ley


Burrel Vann Jr

Burrel Vann Jr is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University. His scholarly work contributes to the study of politics, social movements and protest, drugs and crime, race, and discourse. Currently, his research centers on the political and discursive shifts about marijuana from 1930 to 2019. His prior work has focused on how protests impact voting and elections, the emergence of social movements, and how organizations are covered by the news.




Callie Watkins Liu

Dr. Callie Watkins Liu is an intersectional and critical race scholar-activist, dedicated to research and collaborations that prioritize social justice and center the socially vulnerable. Dr. Watkins Liu’s work challenges power inequities and supports social justice oriented systems, structures and practices. Her publications apply critical analyses to: Social Movements, knowledge production, identity and organizational dynamics.






Candice C. Robinson

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. My research agenda is motivated by a commitment to examine how everyday activities of Black elites contribute to social change in Black communities in the US and abroad.  My dissertation, “Be the Movement: An Ethnographic Study on the Longevity of the National Urban League,” is in conversation with research on the Black Middle Class and civic engagement which has far reaching implications in the areas of race, class, social inequality, politics, and social movements.



Chaniqua D. Simpson (she/her)

I am a Black queer doctoral student and scholar-activist based in North Carolina. While I have an array of interests, my current work broadly focuses on Black social movements, gender/sexuality, and critical race theory. My dissertation uses the case study of a Black youth organization within the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to understand how organizers utilize intersectional theory and praxis to bring members into the movement and to create campaigns and protest actions. I am specifically interested in bridging critical race theory, decolonial theory, and social movement theories for a more comprehensive understanding of movements of the racially oppressed.


Website: (under construction)


Crystal Eddins

I am an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte and hold a dual major PhD in African American & African Studies and Sociology. My research areas are African Diaspora Studies, Historical Sociology, and Social Movements. I study the role of African Diaspora consciousness, cultures, and identities during collective mobilizations. My manuscript in progress, African Diaspora Collective Action: Rituals, Runaways, and the Haitian Revolution, is an interdisciplinary case study that explores the relationship between enslaved people’s ritual life, collective consciousness, and marronnage (escape from enslavement) before the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804. 


Twitter: @CrystalNEddins

Emmanuel Cannady

Emmanuel Cannady is a PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame. He is a College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Fellow, a Graduate Student Affiliate of the Klau Center for Human Rights, and a Gender Studies Graduate Minor. Emmanuel’s research deals broadly with race and ethnicity, trauma, racialization, family, social movements, and the sociology of knowledge. His main research agenda interrogates the racialized meanings of interpersonal interactions across different contexts, including social movement organizations, bystander intervention, friendships, and partner selection to reveal the complex reality of race in the 21st century. For his dissertation, Emmanuel participates in a chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network to investigate how intersecting levels of trauma affect activists’ creation and deployment of different types of knowledge.



Jalia Joseph

Jalia L. Joseph (They/She pronouns) is a doctoral student at Texas A&M University. Broadly, their research focuses on social movements, race and ethnicity, feminisms, knowledge, and power. Their current research analyzes how social movement scholarship makes meaning of race when analyzing race-based social movement. Additionally, they are interested in how dreams, imagination, and perceptions of the future are connected to social movement action.







Jean Beaman

Jean Beaman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of “Citizen Outsider: Children of North African Immigrants in France” (University of California Press, 2017), Associate Editor of the journal Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, and Corresponding Editor for the journal Metropolitics/Metropolitiques. Her current book project is an ethnographic examination of anti-racist mobilization and activism against police violence against racial and ethnic minorities in France from 2005 to 2020. Specifically, she interrogates how activists frame and combat racism in a context of civic republicanism, as well as how activists interpret and respond to the BlackLivesMatter movement in the United States and other struggles for Black liberation worldwide.  


Jennifer Jones

I am Assistant Professor of Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I conduct research on immigrant-serving institutions, the role of race in shaping movement politics, the relationship between social movements, politics, and race-making, multiracial organizing, and Black/Latino coalitions. 



Phone: 312-996-0123


Mark Toney

I have extensive experience in social movement practice and a track record of success in winning policy campaigns, initially as a community organizer for a welfare rights organization in 1982, founding executive director of Direct Action for Rights & Equality for eight years beginning in 1986, executive director of Center for Third World Organizing from 2000–2004, and executive director of The Utility Reform Network since 2008. Social movements, particularly how people exercise power and how people who don’t have any get some, comprised the core of my graduate studies in the UC Berkeley Sociology Department, in which I conducted research and wrote extensively about the Welfare Rights, Community Organizing, and the emerging Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movement.

I currently serve on the boards of ACLU Northern California, Consumer Federation of California, National Whistleblower Center, and California Shakespeare Theatre. My leadership has been recognized as a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow and Echoing Green Fellow. 


Monika Gosin

I am an Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Latin American Studies Program at the College of William & Mary. My work deals with social movements, broadly defined. My book The Racial Politics of Division (Cornell, 2019) examines, in part, how African Americans in Miami, FL expressed their frustrations about how the local and federal government had neglected their concerns about police brutality, poverty, and loss of jobs. I examine their critiques of a system that continued to disenfranchise native-born African Americans while, in the context of the Cold war, immigration policy discriminated against Haitian immigrants, favoring Cuban migrants. Highlighting African American discursive analyses of their changing socio-political environment during two pivotal moments in Miami history, my work captures the promises, contradictions, and dilemmas involved in African American quests to advocate for themselves, and illuminates their fight against various forms of anti-blackness in ever evolving demographic contexts. 


Shaonta’ E. Allen

I’m a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Cincinnati. My research draws on race and social movements scholarship to examine the various ways Black Americans perceive and respond to racial inequality and how this resistance varies across institutional contexts. I specifically explore Black resistive practices within Religion, Higher Education, and Pop-Culture & Sport to theorize contemporary strategies for navigating racial and gendered hierarchies.





Simone N. Durham

Simone is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Through her research, she endeavors to merge social movement and critical race theories to provide a better understanding of race-based movements. Simone’s research projects examine varied narratives and perspectives on the #BlackLivesMatter movement through multiple methodological approaches. Her primary ongoing project (which will be her dissertation) uses interviews to examine how Black millennials in the U.S. understand and relate to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.


Twitter: @SOCYsimone


(To be continued)

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