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Date & Time

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
6:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Free and open to the public


Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


"In The Lost Black Scholar, David A. Varel has sought to bring Allison Davis out of the shadows and he succeeds quite convincingly. This book is an important contribution to African American history, education history, and social science history. There are numerous books on African American scholars in the twentieth century, but this is the first on Davis—he is well worth the attention."—Wayne J. Urban, University of Alabama

"The Lost Black Scholar draws deeply from a rich and varied set of archival material. Varel does a masterful job of documenting Allison Davis’s career path and showing how his efforts fit into the intellectual currents circumscribing the African American social condition in the early and mid-twentieth century. This book should awaken and stimulate interest in Davis, and encourage greater understanding of the consequences and politics of racial scholarship."—Alford A. Young

David Varel discusses "The Lost Black Scholar: Resurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought." He will be joined in conversation by Jared Davis, Allison Davis's grandson, as well as Ben Davis. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

About the book: Allison Davis (1902–83), a preeminent black scholar and social science pioneer, was responsible for groundbreaking investigations into inequality, Jim Crow America, and the cultural biases of intelligence testing. One of America’s first black anthropologists and the first tenured African American professor at a predominantly white university (the University of Chicago, in 1942), he produced work that had tangible and lasting effects on public policy, including contributions to Brown v. Board of Education, the federal Head Start program, and school testing practices. Yet Davis remains largely absent from the historical record. For someone who generated such an extensive body of work, this marginalization is particularly surprising. But it is also revelatory.

About the author: David A. Varel is a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi. He holds a PhD from the University of Colorado, and previously served as a postdoctoral fellow in African American Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is an intellectual historian of the modern United States who specializes in race, the history of social science, and the civil rights movement.

About the Interlocutor: Ben Austen’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Wired, The Atlantic, Harper's and The Best American Travel Writing; he is a former editor at Harper's Magazine, a former high school English teacher, and one-time Fulbright scholar to South Africa. Born and raised in Chicago, he currently lives there with his wife and two children.