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Ph.D., University of Colorado
Teaching and Research Interests
David Varel is an intellectual historian of the modern United States who specializes in race, the history of social science, and the civil rights movement. Last year he served as a postdoctoral fellow in African American Studies at Case Western Reserve University.
Varel’s research explores the struggle against scientific racism, and he specializes in the generation of black scholars who transformed the academy in the second quarter of the twentieth century. His forthcoming book, The Lost Black Scholar: Resurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought (University of Chicago Press, spring 2018), is the first study of the pioneering anthropologist Allison Davis. Davis was the first African American appointed full-time to a predominantly white university. Among other accomplishments, his research contributed to Brown v. Board of Education, the federal Head Start program, and the abolition of culturally biased intelligence tests. His marginalized career is a testament to the troubled politics of race in the academy.
Varel’s work has also appeared in the Journal of Negro Education and Knowledge Cultures, and it has been supported by fellowships from the New York Public Library, the University of Chicago Library, and the University of Colorado. He is currently working on a project on the black history movement.