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:

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.         


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


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.




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.



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.



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.  


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.





(To be continued)

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