Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Assistant Professor & Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor
Department of African American Studies
Ph.D, African American Studies
Northwestern University
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket Books, 2016), an examination of the history and politics of Black America and the development of the social movement Black Lives Matter in response to police violence in the United States. Taylor has received the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book.

Taylor’s most recent book, How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, also with Haymarket Books (2017) won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction.

Taylor’s research examines race and public policy including American housing policies. Dr. Taylor is currently completing a manuscript titled Race for Profit: Black Homeownership and the End of the Urban Crisis, which looks at the federal government's promotion of single-family homeownership in Black communities after the urban rebellions of the 1960s. Taylor looks at how the federal government's turn to market-based solutions in its low-income housing programs in the 1970s impacted Black neighborhoods, Black women on welfare, and emergent discourses on the urban “underclass”. Taylor is interested in the role of private sector forces, typically hidden in public policy making and execution, in the “urban crisis” of the 1970s.

Taylor’s research has been supported, in part, by a multiyear Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship, the Ford Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. Taylor was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013-2014. Taylor received her Ph.D from the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University in 2013.


AAS 350/SOC 362
Rats, Riots, and Revolution: Housing in the Metropolitan United States

This course examines the history of urban and suburban housing in the twentieth century U. S. We will examine the relationship between postwar suburban development as a corollary to the “underdevelopment” of American cities contributing to what scholars have described as the “urban crisis” of the 1960s. Housing choice and location were largely shaped by discriminatory practices in the real estate market, thus, the course explores the consequences of the relationship between public policy and private institutions in shaping the metropolitan area including after the passage of federal anti-housing discrimination legislation in the late 1960s.

AAS 366 / HIS 386
African American History to 1863

This course explores African-American history from the Atlantic slave trade up to the Civil War. It is centrally concerned with the rise of and overthrow of human bondage and how they shaped the modern world. Africans were central to the largest and most profitable forced migration in world history. They shaped new identities and influenced the contours of American politics, law, economics, culture and society. The course considers the diversity of experiences in this formative period of nation-making. Race, class, gender, region, religion, labor, and resistance animate important themes in the course.

AAS 380/AMS 382
Public Policy in the U.S. Racial State

This course explores how ideas and discourses about race shape how public policy is debated, adopted, and implemented. Black social movements and geopolitical considerations prompted multiple public policy responses to racial discrimination throughout the twentieth century. Despite these policy responses, discrimination persists, raising theoretical concerns about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, political representation, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policymaking and addressing group oppression.