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Sundiata Cha-Jua

Associate Professor

Biography

Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua teaches in the departments of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois.

He authored America’s First Black Town, Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915; Sankofa: Racial Formation and Transformation, Toward a Theory of African American History and co-edited Race Struggles with Theodore Koditschek and Helen Neville. He has published scores of articles in leading journals, including “The Long Movement’ as Vampire: Temporal and Spatial Fallacies in Recent Black Freedom Studies” in the Journal of African American History which co-won the OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award for the best journal article in United States History, 2007-2009.

Cha-Jua has been President of the National Council for Black Studies (201-2012, 2012-2014), Senior Editor of The Black Scholar (2011-2015) and Associate Editor of the Journal of African American History (2015-2018).

Since September 2015, he has written a biweekly Op-Ed commentary, “RealTalk: A Black Perspective” for the News Gazette of Champaign, Illinois.

Dr. Cha-Jua is a founding scholar/trainer of the Policing in a Multiracial Society Program (PSMP).  Started in 2012, PSMP provides systematic anti-racial bias education and training for police recruits attending the University of Illinois’s Police Training Institute (PTI) and researches the racial attitudes of police and the effectiveness of anti-racist training.

Cha-Jua has been engaged with local and national Black liberation movement organizations since his teen years. He has been a member of the executive board of the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), a member of the National Council of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) and is an organizer for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM).

 

 

Research Interests

Dr. Cha-Jua's research agenda consists of explorations of Black racial formation, Urban histories/community studies, Radical Black Intellectual Traditions, and culturally relevant pedagogical practices. He is specifically interested in investigating and theorizing African American community formation, lynching, historical materialism, African American historiography, social movement theory, and Black social movements.

Education

History, Ph.D., History
Political Studies, M.A., University of Illinois at Springfield
Political Science, B.A., Tougaloo College

Awards and Honors

  • The Frederick Douglass Distinguished African American Citizenship Award, Ruby Cook, Mayor of Brooklyn, Illinois, July 8, 2000.
  • Superior Scholarship Award, Illinois State Historical Society, for America’s First Black Town, 2001
  • Center for Democracy in a Multiracial Society, University of Illinois, Fellowship, 2004-05
  • William Bradley Scholar Award, The Counseling Psychology Program at Temple University, 2004
  • Visiting Scholar, Barstow Excellence in Teaching in Humanities Seminar at Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan, February 9-10, 2006
  • Co-winner of the 2009 OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award
  • Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2010-11
  • Organization of American Historians, OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2010-2011
  • Panelist/Reviewer for American Studies Panel, NEH Summer Stipends program, Fall 2010
  • Nancy Schaenen Endowed Visiting Scholar at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, De Pauw University, February 4-8, 2013.
  • List of UIUC Teachers Rated Excellent By Their Students, Fall 2006, AFRO 490; Fall 2008, AFRO 101; Spring 2010, HIST 575; Fall 2013, AFRO 101; Spring 2014, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Fall 2014, AFRO 474; Spring 2015, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Spring 2016, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Spring 2017, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Fall 2018, AFRO 474/HIST 478.

 

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, African American Studies
Associate Professor, History

Honors & Awards

• The Frederick Douglass Distinguished African American Citizenship Award, Ruby Cook, Mayor of Brooklyn, Illinois, July 8, 2000. 

• Superior Scholarship Award, Illinois State Historical Society, for America’s First Black Town, 2001

• Center for Democracy in a Multiracial Society, University of Illinois, Fellowship, 2004-05

• William Bradley Scholar Award, The Counseling Psychology Program at Temple University, 2004

• Visiting Scholar, Barstow Excellence in Teaching in Humanities Seminar at Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan, February 9-10, 2006

• Co-winner of the 2009 OAH EBSCOhost American: History and Life Award for the Best Article in United States History 2007-2009.

• Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2010-2011

• Outstanding Faculty Award, Black Graduate & Professional Student Association, University of Illinois, 2007-08

• Organization of American Historians, OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2010-2013

• Nancy Schaenen Endowed Visiting Scholar at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, De Pauw University, February 4-8, 2013.
 
• List of UIUC Teachers Rated Excellent By Their Students, Fall 2006, AFRO 490;Fall 2008, AFRO 101; Spring 2010, HIST 575; Fall 2013, AFRO 101; Spring 2014, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Fall 2014, AFRO 474; Spring 2015, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Spring 2016, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Spring 2017, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Fall 2018, AFRO 474/HIST 478.

Recent Publications

Cha-Jua, S. K., Berry, M. F., & Franklin, V. P. (Eds.) (2024). Reparations and Reparatory Justice: Past, Present, and Future. University of Illinois Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/jj.11498415

Cha-Jua, S. K. (2024). Reparations: Democrats, Universalism, and the African American Struggle for Autonomy. In S. K. Cha-Jua, M. F. Berry, & V. P. Franklin (Eds.), Reparations and Reparatory Justice: Past, Present, and Future (pp. 189-202). University of Illinois Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/jj.11498415.21

Valgoi, M. J., Neville, H. A., Schlosser, M., & Cha-Jua, S. K. (Accepted/In press). A Critical Evaluation of a Racial Literacy Education Program for Police Recruits. Race and Justice. https://doi.org/10.1177/21533687231222459

Cha-Jua, S. K., & Neville, H. A. (2023). The Abolition of Capitalist Work and Reimagining Labor. In D. L. Blustein, & L. Y. Flores (Eds.), Rethinking Work: Essays on Building a Better Workplace (pp. 131-137). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003272397-28

Hoang, T. M. H., Neville, H. A., Smith, A., Valgoi, M., Schlosser, M., & Cha-Jua, S. K. (2023). Police Recruits’ Cognitive Engagement in a Racial Literacy Education Program: Does Racial Ideology Matter? Race and Justice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/21533687221117279

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