Our list of influential Black sociologists leads the field in research and advocating in areas such as race and technology, women’s studies, social policy, inequality, and more. They are paving the way for the next generation of sociologists.
Find out where the overall most influential Black scholars and leaders across all disciplines earned their degree with a look at The Colleges with the Most Influential Black Graduates.
Organizations that are important to the field of sociology, like the The Association of Black Sociologists, are working to help advance and support members’ careers, bolster the number of minority sociologists, and increase the sociological knowledge of Black and other underrepresented minority groups.
Diversity in the field of sociology is strong. Black people comprise 13.4% of the total U.S. population, and 18.4% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in sociology in 2017 were earned by Black students. The influence of the scholars in our list and groups such as those mentioned above have contributed to the strong interest in the field of sociology by Black people.
Prominent scholars in the field of sociology, including William Julius Wilson, France Winddance Twine, Aldon Morris, Patricia Hill Collins, and Lawrence Bobo, advocate for and publish in areas such as human rights, social policy, gender, race, poverty, and inequality. Academic work in sociology can often be interdisciplinary as well, and sociologists may research in areas such as the intersection of politics and race, women’s studies as related to race, and African American studies in the context of social issues. Many of the scholars in our list have also explored and ultimately have published works on topics such as protest, the Civil Rights Movement, race and technology, and the Black religious experience.
The Black scholars in our list were identified as highly cited and searched people using our machine-powered Influence Ranking algorithm, which produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data.
Find out more about our Methodology.
List is arranged alphabetically
American sociologist Patrician Hill Collins currently holds the title of University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She previously was a professor of the University of Cincinnati (where she was also head of the Department of African-American Studies). Collins also holds the distinction of being the 100th president of the American Sociological Association, the first African-American woman to do so. Collins completed her BA in sociology at Brandeis University in 1965, her MA in social science education at Harvard in 1970, and her PhD at Brandeis in 1984.
Collins is known for her work in the intersection of factors such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and national origin affect our perceptions of selves and others, as well as opportunities and barriers, and approach better known as intersectionality. In particular, Collins has placed a great deal of focus on how these various factors affect the status and lives of Black people in America. Though Collins did not coin the term “intersectionality” (that can be traced to Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of our most influential figures in law), her work has done a great deal to advance the idea as a critical tool, and explore how it can be implemented to better understand social issues and inequity.
This list is far from exhaustive; if you have a suggestion for someone to add, please contact us.
For more the most famous Black scholars of the last 30 years, visit our Influential Black Scholars page. If you want more on Sogiology, visit our Sogiology page to find more influential Sociologists, top colleges and universities for Sogiology, and more.
Featured Image Credits Include: