UIC historian elected to Society of American Historians
University of Illinois at Chicago historian and author Barbara Ransby has added a new honor to her long list of accolades for scholarship and writing.
Ransby, UIC professor of African American studies, gender and women’s studies, and history, and distinguished professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is one of 20 scholars, independent writers, journalists, and public historians welcomed as newly elected fellows of the Society of American Historians.
She joins around 400 members in the invitation-only society, which was established in 1939 at Columbia University to promote literary excellence in the writing or presentation of history.
Ransby, who also is director of the Social Justice Initiative at UIC, is well-known for her work in 20th century African-American and women’s history and civil rights and other social change movements. She has spent much of her career creating forums for public discourse that link academics to the community at large.
Ransby is author of “Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century,” the award-winning “Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision,” and “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson.” Ransby, who came to UIC in 1996, has published in numerous scholarly and popular publications, is a frequent guest lecturer, and often is sought by media outlets for her historical and contemporary perspective on issues related to activism, civil rights and race. Her op-eds recently have appeared in The New York Times.
Her current project is a biography of Elizabeth Catlett, a black American – Mexican artist whose political linocuts and sculptures influenced an entire generation of artists on both sides of the U.S.–Mexican border. Catlett, who died in 2012 at the age of 96, explored various themes related to race and feminism in her wide range of work and also was persecuted for her left-wing political views.
Her previous honors include the American Studies Association’s 2018 Angela Y. Davis Prize for Public Scholarship, which recognizes scholars who have applied or used their scholarship for the betterment of society. She was named among the top 25 women in higher education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine in 2017.
Ransby is a past-president of the National Women’s Studies Association, editorial board member for several academic journals, and editor-in-chief of SOULS, a critical journal of black politics, culture and society.