Leading race and civil rights scholar Peniel Joseph joins UT Faculty; Joseph receives joint professorship appointment with LBJ School and history dept. | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Peniel Joseph, renowned scholar, teacher and a leading public voice on race issues has received a joint professorship appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.

Joseph joins UT Austin this Fall from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where he 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. Plans call for the creation of a new Center on the UT campus, housed at the LBJ School and opening Spring 2016.

“I’m excited to be joining the LBJ School and History Department at The University of Texas at Austin,” Joseph said. “Both bring a unique measure of depth and breadth to the study of civil rights, race and democracy, and social movements that I’ve devoted my life to studying. I hope to be able to be part of something truly transformative with the goal of making UT Austin the premier research and intellectual headquarters for students, faculty, policy experts and activists interested in scholarship that impacts not only minds but communities.”

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.

In addition to being a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy and civil rights, Joseph wrote the 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.

“This is an extraordinary historical moment to be writing about and studying issues related to racial justice in the United States,” Josephs said. His 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.

“Through rigorous scholarship, Dr. Joseph has extensively explored the issues of race and democracy; and his writing and teaching bring a powerful, new voice to the social injustices many citizens face today,” said Robert Wilson, LBJ School interim dean. “We are honored to have Peniel Joseph join the LBJ faculty, signaling our continuing commitment to innovative, interdisciplinary and policy-relevant scholarship and teaching. On behalf of the entire LBJ community, I want to extend our appreciation to former LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings for his leadership and commitment to this unique collaboration from which so many will benefit." 

Chairing the faculty search committee was Jeremi Suri, the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair in Global Affairs, who also holds a joint appointment at the LBJ School and History Department.

“Peniel Joseph is one of the leading public voices on civil rights issues in the United States today,” said Suri. “He uniquely blends deep scholarly research with acute understanding of current policy development and public activism. If there is a voice in the United States today carrying forward the legacy of Lyndon Johnson and Barbara Jordan, it is Peniel Joseph.”

Joseph’s courses at UT Austin will include “The Civil Rights Movement and Public Policy,” “Social Movements, Racial Justice, and Democracy,” and “The New Jim Crow: Race, Inequality, and Social Policy.”

More on Peniel Joseph

Included among Joseph’s other book credits is the editing of The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era and Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level. As a national commentator, Joseph has spoken to NPR, the 2008 Democratic and Republic National Conventions, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and CSPAN.

The recipient of fellowships from Harvard University's Charles Warren Center, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Ford Foundation, his essays have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Chronicle Review, The New York Times, The Black Scholar, Souls and American Historical Review, and he is a frequent contributor to Newsweek. He is in the process of moving from Somerville, Masachusetts to Austin, Texas.