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Russell Rickford

Associate Professor

Office: 364 McGraw Hall
Phone: 607-255-4752
Fax: 607-255-0469

Office Hours: See department listing, 450 McGraw Hall

Research and Teaching Interests

Russell Rickford specializes in the black radical tradition and black political culture after WWII. His interests include intellectual history, labor history, postcolonial studies and the history of education. He teaches courses in American social and political history and the history of 20th century social movements. He is committed to exposing students to the value of social class and political economy as categories of analysis. He is dedicated to helping young people think independently and critically about the political discourses and ideologies that shape our lives and configure power relations.We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination--his intellectual history of Pan Africanist schools from the 1960s to the present--was released by Oxford University Press in January 2016. He is currently working on a book about Guyana and radical African-American politics in the 1970s. He is the editor of Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader. A native of Guyana, Rickford completed his doctorate at Columbia University in 2009. He holds a Master's in African-American Studies from Columbia and a Bachelor's from Howard University. He is the author of Betty Shabazz: Surviving Malcolm X, the only major biography of Malcolm's late widow. He is the co-author, along with his father, Stanford University linguist John Rickford, of Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English.


For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page


Ph.D. in History, Columbia University, 2009
M.A. in African-American Studies, Columbia University, 2003
B.A. Howard University, 1997

Recent Publications and Awards


Russell Rickford, "'We Can’t Grow Food on All This Concrete': The Land Question, Agrarianism, and Black Nationalist Thought in the late 1960s and 1970s," Journal of American History 103 (2017).

Russell Rickford, "'Kazi is the Blackest of All': Pan African Nationalism and the Making of the 'New Man', 1969-1975," Journal of African American History 101 (Winter-Spring 2016): 97-125.

Russell Rickford, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination (New York: Oxford, 2016)

Russell Rickford, "Black Lives Matter: Toward a Modern Practice of Mass Struggle," New Labor Forum (Winter 2015)

Russell Rickford, "'Socialism From Below': A Black Scholar's Marxist Genealogy," Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society 13 (2011): 371-392

Russell Rickford, "Integration, Black Nationalism and Radical Democratic Transformation in African-American Philosophies of Education, 1966-74," in The New Black History: Revisiting the Second Transformation, eds. Manning Marable and Elizabeth Kai Hinton (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 287-317.

Grants and Fellowships

Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012-2013