Department of Africana Studies

Noliwe Rooks

Department Chair, Professor, Africana Studies


An interdisciplinary scholar, Noliwe Rooks is the L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Africana Studies, and the chair of Africana Studies at Brown University. Her work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history and political life in the United States. She works on the cultural and racial implications of beauty, fashion and adornment; race, capitalism and education, and the urban politics of food and cannabis production.

The author of four books and numerous articles, essays and Op-Ed’s, Rooks has received research funding from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson School among others. She lectures frequently at colleges and universities around the country and is a regular contributor to popular outlets such as The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Chronicle of Higher Education, Time Magazine and NPR.

Rooks’ most recent book in which she coined the term “segrenomics,” is Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education which won an award for non-fiction from the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Her current book project explores how the implementation of integration/desegregation strategies impacted Black children and communities. It is tentatively titled, Integration, An American Dream, and explores four generations of her family history with integration and educational experimentation.