Areas of expertise: American politics, African American politics, Feminist politics, public opinion, religion and politics
Melissa V. Harris-Perry is Presidential Endowed Professor in Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, and Executive Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute. She is host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry“. The show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to noon ET.
Harris-Perry is author of the well received book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale 2011) which argues that persistent harmful stereotypes-invisible to many but painfully familiar to black women-profoundly shape black women’s politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena.
Her first book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.
Professor Harris-Perry is a columnist for The Nation magazine, where she writes a monthly column also titled Sister Citizen. She is also a contributing editor to Essence magazine where she pens a monthly column on parenting and politics. In addition to hosting her own show on MSNBC she provides expert commentary on U.S. elections, racial issues, religious questions and gender concerns for a variety of other media outlets.
Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges. Her work is published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology.
Professor Harris-Perry’s creative and dynamic teaching is also motivated by the practical political and racial issues of our time. Professor Harris-Perry has taught students from grade school to graduate school and has been recognized for her commitment to the classroom as a site of democratic deliberation on race.
She travels extensively speaking to colleges, organizations and businesses in the United States and abroad. In 2009 Professor Harris-Perry became the youngest scholar to deliver the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University. Also in 2009 she delivered the prestigious Ware Lecture, becoming the youngest woman to ever do so.
Professor Harris-Perry received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. And she studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She lives is the wife of an extraordinary community activist, James Perry, and is the mother of two terrific daughters, Parker and Anna James.
Professor Harris-Perry is a trustee of The Century Foundation. Founded in 1919, The Century Foundation provides creative, progressive solutions to our important domestic and international challenges. Fellows at The Century Foundation – among the most accomplished experts in the country – advance distinctive, workable ideas built on compelling evidence
Professor Harris-Perry also sits on the advisory board for “Chef’s Move!”, a program whose mission is to diversify kitchen management by providing training, experience and mentorship to minority applicants from New Orleans, sending them to New York City for culinary school training and then bringing them back again to become leaders in the kitchen and in their community.
POL 210: Race, Class, and Social Justice
This course explores answers to the questions: What is social justice? How are identities, experiences, and structures of race, ethnicity, and class intertwined with social justice in the American context? Why does social justice matter? What can individuals and communities do to develop socially justice outcomes? Students closely read a number of texts drawn from a wide variety of disciplines and contemporary popular writings. In addition to traditional classroom practices of lecture, discussion, and writing, this course moves decidedly beyond the classroom by requiring students to engage in a number of social justice activities on campus and in the Winston-Salem community. Students work collaboratively to build a toolkit for social justice as the final project for the class.
To view and download syllabi from courses taught by Professor Harris-Perry, visit cooperproject.org/mhp-