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Allyson Hobbs
Associate Professor of American History
Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow 2011-12

Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1997 and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago in 2009. Hobbs teaches courses on African American history, African American women’s history and twentieth century American history. Her research interests include American social and cultural history, racial mixture, identity formation, migration and urbanization, and the intersections of race, class and gender. Currently, she is at work on a book manuscript that examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Professor Hobbs’ book is tentatively titled When Black Becomes White: A History of Racial Passing in American Life and it is under contract with Harvard University Press.

For her fellowship, Allyson Hobbs will continue work on her book manuscript, When Black Becomes White: A History of Racial Passing in American Life. For African Americans, passing was a potent weapon against racial discrimination but also a potential threat to personal and community integrity. Just as passing exposed the contradictions of white racial thinking, it also revealed the tensions within African American communities about racial identity. Departing from conventional notions that portray passing as an individualistic and opportunistic enterprise, Hobbs focuses on the collective nature and communal politics of passing. A central aim of her book is to move into the largely unexplored interior spaces of African American lives and families to reveal the ways that everyday people made sense of their racial identities.

Further information about Professor Hobbs is available from her website.

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