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Angel Adams Parham

Professor / Writer / Speaker

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Angel Adams Parham is Associate Professor of Sociology and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia.  She works in the area of historical sociology, engaging in research and writing that examine the past in order to better understand how to live well in the present and envision wisely for the future.  This research focus is rooted in her interest in re-connecting sociology to its classical roots so that sociology is understood to be a kind of public philosophy animated by questions such as: What is a good society? and What kinds of social arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing? She is the author of American Routes: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race (Oxford, 2017), which was co-winner of the Social Science History Association’s Allan Sharlin Memorial book award (2018)  and co-winner of the American Sociological Association’s Barrington Moore award in comparative-historical sociology (2018). In addition to this research, she is active in public-facing teaching and scholarship where she provides resources and training for K-12 educators who are looking to better integrate Black writers and Black history into their teaching.  A book related to this work comes out in the summer of 2022 and is entitled The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature. Parham’s public-facing work has also led her to become the co-founder and executive director of Nyansa Classical Community, an educational organization which provides curricula and programming designed to connect with students from diverse backgrounds, inviting them to take part in the Great Conversation, cultivate the moral imagination, and pursue truth, goodness, and beauty. She has been a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, as well as the recipient of a Fulbright grant. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and completed her doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Popular Speaking Topics

  • Black Writers and the Western Canon

  • Great Texts in Dialogue: W.E.B. DuBois and Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Great Texts in Dialogue: Benjamin Banneker and Thomas Jefferson

  • The Story Behind the History: The 19th Century Civil Rights Movement You Never Heard Of

  • The Story Behind the History: How Forgotten French Creoles of Color Changed U.S. History

  • From Herodotus’ Cultural Adventures to Today’s Talk of Race: Transformations in Thinking about Sameness and Difference

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