My research contributes to interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of Sociology, Critical Race Theory and Black Studies to explore a wide range of challenges, dilemmas and possibilities for resistance within the African diaspora. Using powerful tools of qualitative methodologies such as in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation, I have examined the anti-racist strategies, group identities, collective memories and activism of Black populations in the United States and France. Another line of research and theory explores the implications of spirituality, meditation and mindfulness for non-white communities. My most recent projects reach beyond the academy to improve the public’s understanding of critical race theory and anti-racism.
I've published widely on perceptions and responses to racism, focusing primarily on the experiences of descendants of slaves in France and the U.S. My first book Resurrecting Slavery (2017, Temple University Press) uses critical race theory to examine how and why French activists are bringing the slavery past back to life. At the heart of the book is a puzzle: How does a nation that officially frames itself as blind to race make sense of its racist and racial past? To answer this question, I draw upon two years of qualitative fieldwork in the Paris region to assess how a variety of stakeholders -- white French politicians, black and multiracial activists and members of the French Caribbean public -- interpret transatlantic slavery and contemporary race politics in France.
Using over 100 in-depth interviews, participant observation at cultural events and content analysis of political speeches, the book focuses on the emotional templates, conceptual frameworks, and racial logics deployed by the French to grapple with the slavery past. Introducing the concept of "racial temporality", I draw particular attention to the role of ethnic and racial movements in challenging white supremacy, epistemologies of ignorance and historical revisionism.
My most recent book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race (2018, Beacon Press), is a work of public sociology that demystifies the central tenets of critical race theory and intersectionality for general audiences.
Currently, I am advancing several lines of theoretical and empirical inquiry broadly related to racial temporality, intersectionality, critical race theory and mindfulness. I continue to publish on French racism, with forthcoming articles and book chapters on French anti-blackness, white supremacy and anti-racist policies. Three books in progress include: Rise Up! How You Can Join the Fight Against Racism (under contract with Henry Holt for Young Readers); So You Wanna Be Woke: A People's Dictionary for Social Justice (under contract with Beacon Press) and Diversifying Mindfulness: Research and Practice (under contract with Routledge).
Forthcoming. 'Positive discrimination doesn't mean anything': Understanding Black French Ambivalence Toward Affirmative Action. Social Problems. (with Hewan Girma).
2018. How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide. Boston: Beacon Press.
2018. "No Fucks to Give: Dismantling the Respectability Politics of White Supremacist Sociology" in The New Black Sociologists: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Marcus Anthony Hunter. New York: Routledge.
2017. "Theorizing at the Margins: Du Bois, The Scholar Denied, and the Matter of Black Lives". Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. 4 (1): 155-158.
2017. Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
2017. "Considerations for Research and Development of Culturally Relevant Mindfulness Interventions in American Minority Communities" (with Proulx, J., Croff, R., Oken, B., Aldwin, Bergen-Cico D., and Thao LeMisbah Noorani). Mindfulness: (1-10).
2016. “Spirituality and Mindfulness.” In Gender: Love, edited by Jennifer C. Nash. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA
2016. “Internalized HIV-Stigma and Mindfulness: Associations with PTSD Symptom Severity in Trauma-Exposed Adults with HIV/AIDS. Behavior Modification" (with Gonzalez, Adam, Locicero, B., Mahaffey, B., Harris, J. and Vujanovic, A.). Behavior Modification. 40(1-2): 144-163.
2015. “Theorizing Ethnic and Racial Movements in the Global Age: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement" (with Aldon Morris). Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. 1(1): 105-126.
2013. “Responses to Discrimination and Social Resilience Under Neoliberalism: The United States Compared.” (with Michèle Lamont and Jessica S. Welburn) in Social Resilience in the Neo-Liberal Age, Edited by Peter A. Hall and Michèle Lamont. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *French translation: "Les africains-américains face aux discriminations à l'époque néo-libérale", Informations Sociales, n°177, mai-juin 2013, n° spécial, "Le volontarisme aux Etats-Unis : un lien social à l'épreuve".
2012. “White Cruelty or Republican Sins? Competing Frames of Stigma Reversal in French Commemorations of Slavery”, Ethnic and Racial Studies. 35(3), pp. 448-505.
2012. “African Americans Respond to Stigmatization: The Meanings and Salience of Confronting, Deflecting Conflict, Educating the Ignorant and Managing The Self" (with Michèle Lamont and Jessica Welburn). Ethnic and Racial Studies. 35(3): 400-417.2011.
2007. “Black Cultural Capitalists: African American Elites and the Organization of the Arts in Early Twentieth-Century Boston" with Lorraine Roses. Poetics. (356): 368-387.
2005. "Everyday Anti-Racism: Competence and Religion in the Cultural Repertoire of the African-American Elite and Working Class" (with Michèle Lamont). The Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race. 2(1), pp. 29-43.