Stephen A. Small


Stephen A. Small


680 Barrows Hall

P: 510-642-7084

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




Stephen Small has taught in the Department of African American Studies since 1995. On July 1st, 2020 he was appointed interim Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues <> an Organized Research Unit on campus that is comprised of six research centers. 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 received his B.A. (honours) in Economics and Sociology from the University of Kent at Canterbury, his MS.C in Social Sciences, from the University of Bristol (both in the United Kingdom), and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He 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 Communities, Social and Political Thought in the African Diaspora, Globalization and Minority American Communities, and Black Families in the USA, and.  Graduate courses include Race and Gender in Black Europe, Theories 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 in 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 cabins originally inhabited by enslaved African Americans that now constitute part of the tourist infrastructure of the New South in the 21st century. He has recently completed a book manuscript tentatively entitled ‘Inside the Shadows of the Big House: 21st century antebellum slave cabins and heritage tourism in Louisiana’. He is co-writing a book (with Dr. Kwame Nimako) on Public History, Museums and Slavery in England and the Netherlands.

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 is race and race mixture (so-called ‘miscegenation’) in the United States and the Caribbean under slavery, and in the contemporary United States. He explores institutional experiences, material resources and ideological articulations of race mixture at different historical moments. He is completing a book manuscript on the experiences of enslaved Black people of mixed origins under slavery in Jamaica.


Recent Articles and Chapters:

“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.

“Theorizing Visibility and Vulnerability in Black Europe and the African Diaspora”, Ethnic and Racial Studies,Vol. 41, No. 6, 2018, pp. 1-16.

“Slavery,” in  Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, ed. B. S. Turner, December 2017.

“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.

“Still Back of the Big House: Slave Cabins and Slavery in Southern Heritage Tourism” Journal of Tourism Geographies, September, 2012.

 “Collective Memory of Slavery in Great Britain and The Netherlands”, co-written with Kwame Nimako in Marten Schalkwijk and Stephen Small (editors) New Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean, Amrit Publishers, The  Hague, 2012, pp. 92-115.  

Recent 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 also published Black Europe and the African Diaspora (co-edited 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