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. A recipient of Brandeis University’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer ’69 and Joseph Neubauer Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, Cunningham has directed a number of intensive field-based programs on the legacy of social conflict and prospects for change today.
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