Distinguished University Professor Emerita Patricia Hill Collins was recently named as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

“I am deeply appreciative of this honor and am quite surprised to be recognized by the Academy. I had no idea that I was nominated, let alone that I would be elected. This is a proud day for me as an individual, but more so for all those who have supported the ideas in my work,” Collins said. 

Also among the 261 new members is Professor Richard J. Walker of the Department of Geology in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

“Dr. Collins is one of the leading scholars on issues related to race and gender inequalities and has won many awards over a long and productive academic career, demonstrating the profile of an internationally acclaimed sociologist,” said Interim Dean Wayne McIntosh. “To be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a very fitting capstone. I could not be more proud and pleased that she is receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Since 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has recognized accomplishments and leadership in academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research. Luminaries who have been recognized with membership include Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, Martin Luther King Jr., and Stephen Hawking.

Collins was recognized for her work as a social theorist whose research and scholarship examines issues of race, gender, social class, sexuality and/or nation. She is the author of a number of foundational articles and books, including “Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment” (Routledge, revised 10th year anniversary edition 2000), which won the Jessie Bernard Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. The 30th anniversary edition will be published in May 2022.

She is currently finishing a book titled “Lethal Intersections: Race, Gender and Violence (forthcoming Polity Press, Fall 2023). This book brings together the different perspectives of activists, artists, scholars and policy makers who are currently engaged in solving the pressing social problem of violence. 

“When it comes to violence, no one has all the answers, or even may be asking the right questions. By tracing how violence touches all of our lives, “Lethal Intersections” aims to bring the best ideas and practices of anti-violence initiatives to a broader global public, Collins said.

Collins has taught at several institutions, held editorial positions with professional journals, lectured widely in the United States and abroad, served in many capacities in professional organizations, and has acted as consultant for a number of businesses and community organizations.

In 2008, she became the 100th President of the ASA, and was the first African American woman elected to this position in the organization, which was founded in 1905.

In addition to her service to UMD, Collins also holds an appointment as the Charles Phelps Taft Emeritus Professor of Sociology within the Department of African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

“I am so thrilled to see Dr. Collins receive this well-deserved distinction,” said Professor Jeff Lucas, chair of the Department of Sociology. “She has long been a major international leader in race, gender, and social inequality in general—and in Black feminist thought in particular—and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a fitting recognition of her many contributions.”

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