Campus & Community

Bobo, Morgan return to Harvard

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Noted scholars to join African and African American Studies Department

Marcyliena Morgan, a noted linguistic anthropologist, and Lawrence D. Bobo, a renowned sociologist, have been appointed professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Both will join the Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS); Bobo will have a joint appointment in sociology. Morgan and Bobo, who are husband and wife, were members of the Harvard faculty until 2005. They will return in January 2008.

“The colleagues of Marcyliena Morgan and Larry Bobo are ecstatic to learn that they will return to Harvard,” said Evelyn Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies, and AAAS chair.

“Individually and together Morgan and Bobo bring important and needed disciplinary strengths to our undergraduate and graduate programs. With the department’s new field in public health, Morgan’s emphasis on hip-hop’s international influence, and especially its role in AIDS prevention, will be a tremendous asset.” Higginbotham added, “Bobo’s cutting-edge research on crime and black incarceration carries the department’s already strong social-science field to even greater heights.”

In addition to her AIDS-prevention-related work, Morgan has focused on global hip-hop and how it has affected language among youth in the United States and worldwide. She has also researched urban speech communities, including language use, urban youth language, discourse styles, and hip-hop culture. She has amassed one of the most extensive and significant hip-hop archives in the country, and her research has made her the leading authority on the subject. Her widely anticipated second book, “The Real Hiphop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the Underground” (Duke University Press), will be released soon. Its focus is on the underground hip-hop culture in Los Angeles. Morgan has been an associate professor at Stanford since January 2005.

Bobo, who will be the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His teaching and research interests focus on race, politics, and social inequality. He originally joined the Harvard faculty in 1997. He joined the Stanford University faculty in January 2005.

Bobo, who has published numerous books and articles, has done extensive work on race and racial attitudes. He has used social surveys to examine racial attitudes and their relationships to public policy. Among other things, his work has shown the possibility that conflicts of interest among racial groups may be as significant a contributor toward racial attitudes as symbolically rooted prejudices.

“Sociology is absolutely thrilled to hear that Larry Bobo will return to Harvard,” said department chair Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences. “Larry is an unquestioned scholarly leader who has made numerous original and influential contributions to our understanding of race relations in America. Along with the recent hiring of Bruce Western from Princeton and Kathryn Edin from Penn, Harvard has made a quantum leap in establishing itself as one of the world’s leading centers for the study of social inequality.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research added, “This is a great day for Harvard and the Department of African and African American Studies. Marcy Morgan and Larry Bobo are both undisputed leaders of their respective fields. These appointments are especially satisfying because they represent the return of the hip-hop archive to the place where Marcy created it, and because Larry will assume the title of the first Du Bois Professor in Social Science at Harvard. With the return of Bobo and Morgan, Harvard has reinforced its position as the leading center of African and African American Studies in the world.”

Bobo holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in sociology from the University of Michigan. His B.A. is from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is the recipient of numerous honors and fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Russell Sage Foundation Fellowship, and the Minority Fellowship of the American Sociological Association. He received the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard in 2004, the Outstanding Book Award of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (2005), and the William L. Strickland ’71 Alumni Excellence Award from the Loyola Marymount African American Alumni Association (2007). His most recent book, “Prejudice in Politics” (Harvard University Press, 2006), was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award.

Morgan, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, also holds M.A. degrees from the University of Essex (England) in theological linguistics, and the University of Illinois, Chicago, in communications, where she also earned her B.A. In addition to Harvard and Stanford, she has also held teaching positions at the University of California, Los Angeles; St. Hughes College, Oxford University; and the University of Pennsylvania.

Among her many awards and honors, she received the Dean’s Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to her forthcoming “The Real Hiphop,” she is the author of “Language, Discourse and Power in African American Culture” (Cambridge University Press, 2002). She has written numerous articles and contributed to several books.