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Rutledge M. Dennis Award Statement

Professor Rutledge Dennis is the 2006 recipient of the ASA’s DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award. His contributions in scholarship, teaching and service exemplify the very best of the DuBois-Johnson-Frazier tradition. He is an exceptional teacher who has engaged in rigorous social research that culminated in prodigious purposeful scholarship that framed the nature and scope of his community activism.

For more than thirty years, Rutledge Dennis’s provocative and stimulating pedagogy has engaged students in critical thinking on the Black Family, Black Intellectuals, Black Political Thought, the dynamics of racial and ethnic relations, society and the urban community and the intricacies of sociological theory and methodology. He has consistently developed educational programs that have enriched college curricula and created spaces for the perspectives of traditionally under-represented groups. His commitment to the success of faculty of color is evident in his mentoring of countless young students and scholars.

Professor Dennis is recognized as one of the leading scholars on DuBois. Along with W. E. B. DuBois: The Scholar Activist, his significant works on DuBois include: “Intellectuals and Double Consciousness,” “W.E. B. DuBois and the Tradition of Black Intellectual Thought,” and “DuBois and the Role of the Educated Elite,” “Continuities and Discontinuities in the Social and Political Thought of W.E. B. Du Bois,” “W.E.B. Du Bois and the Objectivity of the Social Sciences,” and “W.E. B. Dubois and the Tradition of Radical Intellectual Thought.”

The DuBois-Johnson-Frazier tradition is evident in his outstanding publication record that includes nine books, 25 peer reviewed journal articles, and 13 book chapters. In this work, Professor Dennis has advanced the cause of African-American scholarship, and the demarginalization of Black intellectuals in institutions of higher education in particular, and in American society in general. His series on race and ethnic relations provides evidence of a sustained effort to engage others in dialogue on the most challenging and persistent questions affecting our society. The edited series published by JAI Press Inc. include Black Intellectuals, W. E. B. DuBois: The Scholar Activist, The Black Middle Class and Racial and Ethnic Politics.

His use of scholarship to frame community activism is most evident in the study of annexation efforts of a powerful southern elite published in The Politics of Annexation: Oligarchic Power in a Southern City (with John Moeser). Professor Dennis has been described by one colleague as a scholar who has “never cloistered himself behind the walls of the academy but was fully engaged in the life of the community and used his skills as a scholar to address concerns and issues important to citizens.” His scholarly and activist engagement is further demonstrated in his work as a Commissioner of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Advisory Boards of the Richmond Human Relations Council, and the Quality Education Task Force of the Richmond School system. In memory of his parents, he established the Dennis-Weathers Award in support of African American Studies at George Mason University. This award honors the “work and spirit” of W.E. B. Du Bois by faculty, staff and students who foster awareness, sensitivity and cross-cultural understanding at the University and the surrounding community. The award recognizes faculty and students who demonstrate a “commitment to increasing awareness of intercultural/cross-cultural understanding at Mason and in the broader community.” He organized a successful book drive collecting over 400 textbooks for the Royal College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He service to the profession includes: President of the Association of Black Sociologists, President of the Black Education Association, Chair of the Election Committee of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and Chair of the Race and Ethnic Minority Committee of the Eastern Sociological Society. Most recently Professor Dennis was awarded the Joseph S. Himes Distinguished scholarship Award from the Association of Black Sociologists. This award honors scholars whose works have made a significant contribution to the understanding of black life and culture.

Rutledge Dennis has been among the leading scholars of the third generation of black sociologists, helping set the tone for research and activism in the black community and carrying on the tradition of W. E. B. DuBois, Charles S. Johnson, and E. Franklin Frazier.,/p>