Dr. Sundiata Cha-Jua, Assoc Prof of History, Assoc Prof of African American Studies


sundiataDr. Sundiata Cha-Jua,
Assoc Prof of History, Assoc Prof of African
American Studies – University of Illinois
Center for Global Studies; and
Immediate-Past President, National Council for Black Studies

Dr. Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, from which he earned a Ph.D. in 1993, and in African American Studies. He previously taught in the History department and directed the Black Studies Program at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and taught history at Pennsylvania State University and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Dr. Cha-Jua received Advanced Certificates in Black Studies from Northeastern University in 1992 and from the National Council for Black Studies, Director’s Institute in 1992.

Dr. Cha-Jua’s research agenda consists of explorations of  Black racial formation and transformation theory, Urban histories/community studies, Radical Black Intellectual Traditions, and  culturally relevant pedagogical practices. He is specifically interested in investigating African American community formation, lynching, historical materialism, African American historiography, social movement theory, and Black social movements.

He is the author of the award-winning America’s First Black Town, Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), the monograph, Sankofa: Racial Formation and Transformation, Toward a Theory of African American History (Washington State University, 2000), and co-edited Race Struggles (University of Illinois Press, 2009) with Theodore Koditschek and Helen Neville. He has published dozens of articles in leading journals, including The Black Scholar, Journal of African American History, Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, New Politics and Souls. He coauthored, “The ‘Long Movement’ as Vampire: Temporal and Spatial Fallacies in Recent Black Freedom Studies” in the Journal of African American History which co-won the 2009 OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award for the best journal article in United States History, 2007-2009.

He recently finished “Rising Waters”: Explorations in Radical Black History for Lexington Press and is working on two book projects, A Critical Introduction to Black Studies: Transformations & Black Intellectual Traditions, with Lou Turner and Beyond the Rape Myth: Black Resistance to Lynching, 1867-1930.

Cha-Jua is the returning President of the National Council for Black Studies, 2012-14, Senior Editor of The Black Scholar, serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of African American Studies and the Journal of Black Studies, and is a Life member of the National Council for Black Studies and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He is participating in the Organization of American Historians’ OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program for 2010-2013.

Distinctions / Awards

  • Superior Scholarship Award, Illinois State Historical Society, for America’s First Black Town, 2001
  • William Bradley Scholar Award, the Counseling Psychology Program at Temple University, 2004
  • Visiting Scholar, Barstow Excellence in Teaching in Humanities Seminar at Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan, February 9-10, 2006
  • Co-winner of the 2009 OAH EBSCOhost American: History and Life Award
  • Panelist/Reviewer for American Studies Panel, NEH Summer Stipends Program, Fall 2010
  • Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2010-2011
  • Organization of American Historians, OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2010-2013



  • Race Struggles. Ed. Ted Koditsheck, Sundiata K. Cha-Jua, and Helen Neville. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. America’s First Black Town, Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. Sankofa: Racial Formation and Transformation, Toward a Theory of African American History. Pullman, WA: Comparative Ethic Studies, 2000.

Book Contributions

  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. ““The cry of the Negro should not be remember the Maine, but remember the hanging of Bush”: Moral Suasion, Violent Self-Help, and Political Mobilization in Decatur, Illinois, 1893-1898,”.” Lynching beyond Dixie: American Lynching outside the South. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “”A Life of Revolutionary Transformation: A Critique of Manning Marable’s Malcolm X,” .” Malcolm X: A Lie of Reinvention. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 2012. 57-87.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. ““Black Audiences, Blaxploitation and Kung Fu Films, and Challenges to White Celluloid Supremacy,” .” China Forever: Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. 199-223.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “Contemporary Police Brutality and Misconduct: A Continuation of the Legacy of Racial VIolence.” Putting the Movement Back in Civil Rights Teaching. Comp. Alana D. Murray and Jenice L. View. Ed. Deborah Menhart. Teaching for Change, 2004.

Journal Articles

  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata, and Louis Chude-Sokei. “”Black Scholar Classics: Remembering the 1970s”.” The Black Scholar 42.2 (2012): 64.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “”In Defense of Ethnic Studies and Academic Freedom”.” The Black Scholar40.4 (2011): 64.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “”Black Political Economy”.” The Black Scholar 39.3 (2010): 64.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. ““The New Nadir: The Contemporary Black Racial Formation,”.” “Black Political Economy,” The Black Scholar 40.1 (2010): 38-58.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata, and Clarence Lang. ““The ‘Long Movement’ as Vampire: Temporal and Spatial Fallacies in Recent Black Freedom Studies”.” Journal of African American History 92.2 (2007): 265-288.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “”Hurricane Katrina”.” The Black Scholar 36.4 (2006): 64.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “”‘A Warlike Demonstration’: Legalism, Violent Self-help and Electoral Politics, in Decatur, Illinois, 1894-1898″.” Journal of Urban History 26 (2000): 591-629.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “Black Towns.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Gale, 2007.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “African American Towns and African Americans in Suburbs.” Encyclopedia of American Urban History. London: Sage Books, 2006.
  • Cha-Jua, Sundiata. “African-American Ideas.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Vol.1: Abolitionism to Common Sense. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004.

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