Stephen A. Small

Stephen Small

Stephen A. Small


680 Barrows Hall

P: 510-642-7084

Office hours:
Fall 2020: Tuesday & Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm



Professors Small’s new book – In the Shadows of the Big House. Twenty-First-Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana was published June 2023. 


Stephen Small has taught in the Department of African American Studies since 1995. On July 1st, 2020, he was appointed Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues <> an Organized Research Unit on campus that is comprised of seven research centers the research, teach, train and work towards social change. He previously served as Chair of the Department of African American Studies, Associate Director of the Institute of International Relations, Director, International Area Studies, and Director, Rotary Center for International Studies of Peace and Conflict Resolution.

He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, his MS.C in Social Sciences, from the University of Bristol,  and his B.A. (honours) in Economics and Sociology from the University of Kent at Canterbury.  He previously taught in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1988-1992); in the Center for Research in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick (1991); and in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester (1992-1995). He was Study Center Director for the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Spain (2013-2015), in France (2002-2004); and he was Director of UC, Berkeley’s travel study program in Brazil (2001-2005) and in Zimbabwe (1996). He was Extraordinary Professor for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy in the History Department of the University of Amsterdam (2010-2015).

The majority of his teaching is about African Americans in the post-Civil Rights period, but he necessarily makes comparisons with earlier periods, and with other racial and ethnic groups in the contemporary period. He frequently compares the social structure, institutional circumstances and social mobilization of African Americans, with Black people elsewhere in the African Diaspora – especially in Europe, the Caribbean and in South America (primarily Brazil). His undergraduate courses include Race, Class and Gender in African American CommunitiesSocial and Political Thought in the African DiasporaGlobalization and Minority American Communities, and Black Families in the USA, and.  Graduate courses include Race and Gender in Black EuropeTheories of Race and Ethnic Relations and Comparative International Race and Ethnic Relations.


Stephen Small’s research is organized around the social scientific analysis of contemporary racial formations, and addresses links between historical structures and contemporary manifestations of racial formations. The two disciplines upon which he draws most heavily are Sociology and History. He has three active programs of research. The first is on public history and collective memory, in which he explores how colonialism, slavery and their legacies are represented and interpreted at contested sites such as museums, memorials and monuments in the 21st century. He has undertaken research in the US South, England, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark and Brazil. His field research in the US South examines the distribution, role and treatment of the several hundred slave cabins originally inhabited by enslaved African Americans that now constitute part of the tourist infrastructure of the New South in the 21st century.

The second area of research examines the social, cultural and political nature of Black Europe, with a focus on citizenship, institutional inequality and racial discrimination, community organization and community resistance, both within individual nations, as well as patterns across nations. His primary focus is on the striking similarities that characterize the experiences of people in the African diaspora across Europe: namely, ambiguous hyper-visibility, entrenched vulnerability, institutional racism and irrepressible resistance. 

The third area examines British imperialism and its legacies with particular reference to Liverpool. Most research on British imperialism (1870-1940s) focuses on London and the political and economic interests of its leaders and businessmen in India, Egypt and southern Africa.  And most research on the 20th century Black population in Britain focusses on West Indians that arrived in the decades after the second world war. In contrast, Liverpool politicians and businessmen controlled 90% of imperial trade in West Africa, trade that was central to the second industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century. And the Black population of Liverpool developed from West Africa sailors that settled in the city during imperial trade. In other words, there are demographic and institutional differences prevalent in Liverpool an examination of which both expands on and broadens our understanding of Black Britain.

Recent Publications

His most recent book is In the Shadows of the Big House. Twenty-First Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana, published by University Press of Mississippi, in June 2023.

1981 Black Liverpool, Past and Present (co-written with Jimi Jagne), Serendipity Black Arts and Heritage Institute, Leicester, 2022.

Recent Book chapter: ‘Following Father’s Footsteps: Slavery, Imperialism and the William Ewart Gladstone Memorial Statue in Liverpool City Centre’, chapter in Fallen Monuments and Contested Memorials edited by Juilee Decker, July 2023.

Recent Journal articles: ‘How Imperial Liverpool became an African city, and why it matters’, chapter in History Matters Journal, Volume 2. No. 2, Spring , 2022, pp. 19-34.

“Black Expressive Culture in England and Europe,” in Pawlet Brookes, (editor) Reflections: Cultural Voices of Black British Irrepressible Resistance, Serendipity, Leicester, 2020, pp. 13-69.   

“Confederate Memorials, Plantation-Museums and Slave Cabins: Public History of Slavery in the United States,” in  Jessica Moody and Stephen Small, “Slavery and Public History at the Big House. Remembering and Forgetting at American Plantation Museums and British Country Houses”, Journal of Global Slavery, Vol 4, pp. 36-48, February 2019.

“Social Mobilization and Public History of Slavery in the United States”, in Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge. Debates on History and Power in Europe and the Americas, Marta Araújo and Silvia Rodríguez Maeso (Editors), 2015, pp. 229-246.

Other  books:  20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe, Amrit Publishers, The Hague, January 2018; Global Mixed Race, with Rebecca Chioko King O’Riain, Minelle Mahtani, Miri Song and Paul Spickard (New York University Press, 2014);  New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean, (co-edited with Marten Schalkwijk, University of Suriname), Amrit Publishers, The Hague, February 2012.  He was also co-editor of Black Europe and the African Diaspora  (with Darlene Clark Hine and Trica Danielle Keaton) (2009), and is the author of Living History: The Legacy of Slavery in the Netherlands, Amrit/NINsee Publishers, The Hague, 2012.

Work in Progress

Book Manuscript: Liverpool-born-Blacks are the Real Thing. African and African Diaspora Culture in Liverpool at the end of the 20th Century, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, forthcoming, 2024. (An analysis of West African, West Indian, Afro-American and Liverpool-born-black cultural influences, patterns and transformations).

Personal note – Stephen was born and raised in Liverpool, the city with the longest-
standing Black population in England.