David Cunningham is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. One of the university’s inaugural hires in the re-formed Department of Sociology, he joined WashU in 2015 from his previous appointment as Chair of Sociology at Brandeis University. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of racial violence, with a primary emphasis on organized white supremacy, historically and today.
With support from the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, his past work has centered on FBI counterintelligence against a range of social movements as well as the mobilization and enduring impacts of the civil rights-era Ku Klux Klan. His latest book Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CBS News, the Miller Center Forum, and in a PBS American Experience documentary film. Ongoing projects examine (1) the organization and enforcement of segregation under Jim Crow, (2) the enduring legacies of racist violence, (3) the policing of organized white supremacy, and (4) the recent wave of conflicts around Confederate monuments and other sites of contested memory. An instructor and Executive Board member for Washington University’s Prison Education Project, he has received multiple awards for teaching and mentorship, as well as the 2019 Robin M. Williams Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship, Teaching, and Service given by the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association.
Recent media commentary on the historical roots of today’s policing of white supremacy featured on The Conversation, Lawfare, Recall This Book, Sirius XM’s The Joe Madison Show, WNHN’s The Attitude with Arnie Arneson, and NPR’s St. Louis on the Air.
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