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