Michael Eric Dyson, PH.D.

Hailed as one of the nation's most inspiring African Americans, Michael Eric Dyson has been credited with revitalizing the role of the public intellectual with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister. The American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner has been named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine. The Philadelphia Weekly contends that Dyson “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual by becoming the most visible black academic of his time.”

Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas. His first book, 1993’s Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism, helped establish the field of black American cultural studies. His next book, 1994’s Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X, was named one of the most important African-American books of the 20th century. Dyson’s first book on Martin Luther King, 2000’s  I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., made a significant contribution to King scholarship by recovering the radical legacy of the slain civil rights leader.  Other works including Holler if You Hear Me; Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye; Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?; Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster; and Can You Hear Me Now?: The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson, deeply probe social themes and cultural politics.

Dyson has taught at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities including Brown, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania, but his influence has carried far beyond the academy into prisons and bookstores, political conventions, union halls, church sanctuaries, and lecture stages across the world. He has appeared on nearly every major media outlet including The Today Show, Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor, The Tavis Smiley Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and has cemented his star appeal on such shows as Rap City, Def Poetry Jam, and The Colbert Report.

A popular University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson bridges gaps between generations, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture while forging links between older and younger Americans, especially black Americans. In 2011, he received widespread attention for his course “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.” As a cutting edge historian, he educates the general public on the significance of hip hop, not only in understanding black culture, but American culture as well. With his powerful voice, Dyson reaches beyond race, addressing the universal commonality of American concern.


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