Valerie S. Ashby, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity College

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva - 2018 Trinity Distinguished Lecture

May 2, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I hope to see each of you at this week's Trinity Distinguished Lecture featuring sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.

As you know, we established this lecture series last year as part of the celebration of 50 Years of Black Faculty Scholarship in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. I am proud to support this annual event to raise the visibility of our outstanding faculty.

Eduardo's lecture promises to be thought provoking and insightful. The topic of racial inequality is an important one for us all, and this lecture series supports our strategic framework theme of diversity and inclusion as a driver for innovation and excellence.


Valerie S. Ashby

Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

2018 Trinity Distinguished Lecture

Eduardo Bonilla-SilvaRACE MATTERS:

The Strange Career of a "Race Scholar"


Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Professor of Sociology


May 3 | 3:00 p.m.

Penn Pavilion

Reception will follow lecture

Lecture Overview

Race matters for everyone both as a verb and as a noun. In this talk, sociologist Bonilla-Silva will discuss his theoretical, methodological, and empirical work on race over the last 25 years (race matters as a noun) and how race has mattered for him throughout his career (race matters as a verb). He will discuss his early work on racial theory (the concept of 'racialized social systems') and underscore why he has insisted on the need to ground racial affairs materially rather than ideologically. He will then offer a brief overview of his work on the 'new racism' and 'color-blind racism;' the Latin Americanization of racial stratification; his book White Logic, White Methods; the idea of a 'racial grammar;' and his current work on 'racialized emotions.'

At the end of the talk, it will become clear that there is truly nothing 'strange' about how race affects the career of all scholars (white and non-white) in America.

Bonilla-Silva Bio

Sociology Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is a renowned expert in racial theory, racial ideology, racism and methodology, and racial stratification in the United States.

Bonilla-Silva earned his BA in sociology and economics from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus in 1984, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1993. His academic training focused on class analysis, political sociology, and the sociology of development (globalization). Prior to coming to Duke in 2006, he served on the faculty at the University of Michigan from 1993–1998 and at Texas A&M University from 1998–2005. He chaired Duke's Department of Sociology from 2012 to 2016.

His research over the last 25 years has focused on many aspects of race. He lectures and publishes on racial theory, race and methodology, color-blind racism, the idea that race stratification in the USA is becoming Latin America-like, racial grammar, historically White colleges and universities, race and human rights, race and citizenship, whiteness, and the Obama phenomenon, among other topics. Throughout his work, Bonilla-Silva builds an argument that racism is fundamentally a collective and structural phenomenon of "racial domination" in society.

He teaches on topics such as comparative race and ethnic studies, the sociology of racism in American, and social stratification.

Professional Society Leadership


109th President of the American Sociological Association


2016 Solomon Carter Fuller Award, American Psychiatric Association

This award honors a Black citizen who has pioneered in an area which has benefited the quality of life for Black people.

2011 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, American Sociological Association

Bonilla-Silva was recognized for his outstanding scholarship and activity focused on racial issues, especially those affecting “African American or similarly disadvantaged racial/ethnic populations." Read citation.

2009 Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award

Recognized, with co-author Tukufu Zuberi, for significant anti-racist scholarship for the book White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology.

2007 Lewis A. Coser Memorial Award for Theoretical Agenda-Setting, American Sociological Association

Bonilla-Silva was recognized for "work of crucial and agenda-setting importance to the field of sociology."

Left of Black Interview


Left of Black producer Mark Anthony Neal, chair of the Department of African & African American Studies, interviews sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.


Racism without Racists

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (5th Edition)

Bonilla-Silva, E.
Rowman & Littlefield, June 9, 2017

The fifth edition of this provocative book makes clear that color blind racism is as insidious now as ever. It features new material on our current racial climate, including the Black Lives Matter movement; a significantly revised chapter that examines the Obama presidency, the 2016 election, and Trump’s presidency; and a new chapter addressing what readers can do to confront racism-both personally and on a larger structural level.

White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era

White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era

Bonilla-Silva, E.
Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001

Bonilla-Silva addresses the reasons that black Americans and other racial minorities lag behind whites in terms of income, wealth, occupational and health status, educational attainment, and other social indicators. Providing a new formulation of what "racism" and "prejudice" are, he argues that white supremacy and racial ideology are the most important sociological variables to explain the status of minorities. He finds that since the Jim Crow period, a new racial ideology has emerged in which white privilege continues through subtle institutional and apparently nonracial means. He shows how this new "color-blind racism" helps sustain relations of domination, leaving black Americans "at the bottom of the well."

Edited Books

White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism

White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism

Doane, AW, and Bonilla-Silva, E.
New York: Routledge, January 11, 2013

What does it mean to be white? This remains the question at large in the continued effort to examine how white racial identity is constructed and how systems of white privilege operate in everyday life. White Out brings together the original work of leading scholars across the disciplines of sociology, philosophy, history, and anthropology to give readers an important and cutting-edge study of "whiteness."

The State of White Supremacy

The State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the USA

Jung, MK, Vargas, J, and Bonilla-Silva, E.
Stanford University Press, February 2011

Uncovering the false promise of liberalism, State of White Supremacy reveals race to be a fundamental, if flexible, ruling logic that perpetually generates and legitimates racial hierarchy and privilege. Racial domination and violence in the United States are indelibly marked by its origin and ongoing development as an empire-state. The widespread mis-recognition of the United States as a liberal nation-state hinges on the twin conditions of its approximation for the white majority and its impossibility for their racial others. The essays in this book incisively probe and critique the U.S. racial state through a broad range of topics, including citizenship, education, empire, gender, genocide, geography, incarceration, Islamophobia, migration and border enforcement, violence, and welfare.

White Logic, White Methods

White Logic, White Methods: Race, Epistemology, and the Social Sciences

Zuberi, T, and Bonilla-Silva, E.
Rowman and Littlefield, 2008

White Logic, White Methods shows the ways that a reigning white ideological methodology has poisoned almost all aspects of social science research. The only way to remedy these prevailing inequalities is for the complete overhaul of current methods, and a movement towards multicultural and pluralist approaches to what we know, think, and question. With an assemblage of leading scholars, this collection explores the possibilities and necessary dethroning of current social research practices.