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Advisory Board

Farah Jasmine Griffin , Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies; Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. B.A., Harvard (1985); Ph.D., Yale (1992).

Professor Griffin's major fields of interest are African American literature, music, history and politics. The recipient of numerous honors and awards for her teaching and scholarship, in 1996-97 Professor Griffin was a fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She is the author of Who Set You Flowin': The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995) and If You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001). She is also the editor of Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends: Letters from Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus (Knopf, 1999) co-editor, with Cheryl Fish, of Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing (Beacon, 1998) and co-editor with Brent Edwards and Robert O'Meally of Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press, 2004). She is currently Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies.

Kenneth T. Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences, Columbia University. B.A., University of Memphis (1961); Ph.D, University of Chicago (1966).

Professor Jackson specializes in American social and urban history. His publications include The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915–1930 (1967), Cities in American History (1972), Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985),  Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery, with Camilo Vergara (1990), and, as editor The Encyclopedia of New York City (1995). He is presently working on two books to be entitled Gentlemen's Agreement: Race, Class, and Differential Development in Newark, White Plains, and Darien, 1840–1990 and The Road to Hell: Transportation Policy and the Decline of the United States.

Sudhir Venkatesh , Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Research in the Institute for Research in African-American Studies , Columbia University. He is also the Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy . B.A., University of California-San Diego (1988); M.A., University of Chicago (1992); Ph.D, University of Chicago (1997).

Professor Venkatesh's research is based in American cities, with a particular interest in the social organization of urban poverty neighborhoods. Living Underground: The Sociology of Informal and Illegal Income Generation (forthcoming from Harvard University Press ) is a historical study of underground economies in one Chicago African-American community. In American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (2000), Venkatesh explores the social organization, moral universe, and history of a Chicago housing project. His recent documentary “Dislocation,” follows families as they relocate from condemned public housing. Current research projects include a longitudinal ethnographic data collection on Chicago's street gangs; a study of the role of community-based organizations in the lives of at-risk youth; and (with economist Steven Levitt), a study of the earnings and labor market outcomes of underground entrepreneurs.



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