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Distinguished Sociologist Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Named 2021 Academic Convocation Keynote Speaker

August 18, 2021
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will welcome Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva as the keynote speaker for 2021 Academic Convocation. Bonilla-Silva is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Duke University and is well-known for his work on structural racism as well as for his analysis of color-blind racism. He will deliver the convocation address, entitled “What Is Structural About Racism” at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, via Zoom.

Bonilla-Silva gained visibility in the social sciences with his 1997 American Sociological Review article, “Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation,” where he challenged analysts to study racial matters structurally rather than from the sterile prejudice perspective. His book, Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States (5th edition), has become a classic in the field and influenced scholars in education, religious studies, political science, rhetoric, psychology, political science, legal studies, and sociology.  A sixth edition is scheduled for 2021.  

“Professor Bonilla-Silva is a world-class scholar, a giant in his field, and has helped so many to better understand how the practices and mechanisms of racism work in subtle and not-so-subtle ways,” said President Javier A. Viera. “The sustained reality of racial inequality in the United States, even though the vast majority of people consider themselves non-racists or anti-racists, suggests that there is more at work beneath the surface than we’re willing to admit or that we are equipped to see with disciplined veracity. Dr. Bonilla-Silva has a gift for peeling back the layers and unveiling or revealing what is at work. This is crucial work for the Church, deeply spiritual work, and it is crucial work for those of us who are or aspire to be religious leaders. That is why I have invited Eduardo to be with us and to help our community engage in the work of peeling back the layers.” 

In addition to Racism without Racists, Bonilla-Silva has published four other books: White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era; White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism (co-edited with Ashley Doane); White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology (co-edited Tukufu Zuberi); and State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the United States (co-edited with Moon Kie Jung and João H. Costa Vargas).  

He has received numerous over the years including the Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting from the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award given by the ASA “to an individual or individuals for their work in the intellectual traditions of the work of these three African American scholars.” In addition, he also received the Editor’s Choice Award in 2004 and 2015 for Racism without Racists and was a co-winner of the ASA’s Oliver Cox Award in 2002 and 2009 for White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era and White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology respectively.  

Bonilla-Silva’s research has appeared in journals such as Sociological Inquiry, Racial and Ethnic Studies, Race and Society, Discourse and Society, American Sociological Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, Contemporary Sociology, Critical Sociology, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Research in Politics and Society, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The American Behavioral Scientist, Political Power and Social Theory, and Social Problems among others.  

Prior to joining Duke University in 2005, Bonilla-Silva worked at the University of Michigan (1993-1998) and Texas A&M University (1998-2005). He served as chair of the department of sociology at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke from 2012-2016. He has also served as president of the Southern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Bonilla-Silva received his bachelor of arts in sociology from the Universidad de Puerto Rico-Río Piedras campus. He received his master of arts and doctor of philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.