Matthew W. Hughey’s article “Debating Du Bois’s Darkwater: From hymn of hate to pathos and power”

March 23, 2020


"The initial 1920 publication of W. E. B. Du Bois’s Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil sold over 15,000 copies. Its initial 1969 reissue, and subsequent reprints, have since garnered even more sales and thousands of citations. Darkwater is now considered a classic. The centenary of the publication (1920–2020) provides an opportune moment to reflect on the book’s significance and disparate interpretations. In this article, I first examine the antecedents of Du Bois’s Darkwater. I then examine the book reviews, announcements, book club declarations, and advertisements and I subsequently map the variations of their coverage, debate, and emphases. I conclude with some thoughts on sociology’s relative dismissal of Darkwater until recent years and what sociology’s modest rediscovery of, and debates over, Du Bois portend."

Coming Soon! Kappa of Connecticut Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta

March 10, 2020

The UConn Sociology Department is pleased to announce that we have been approved to establish the Kappa of Connecticut chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta under the direction of Matthew Hughey (chapter representative).


Alpha Kappa Delta: The International Sociology Honor Society

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) is the International Sociology Honor Society.  AKD was founded in 1920 at the University of Southern California by Dr. Emory S. Bogardus and became affiliated with the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) in 1967. AKD is also affiliated with the American Sociological Association (ASA).

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Matthew Hughey’s New Book!

Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks's book:

A Pledge with Purpose: Black Sororities and Fraternities and the Fight for Equality

Gregory S. Parks is Professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. He is co-author of The Wrongs of the Right: Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama and The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?

Matthew W. Hughey is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of many books, including The White Savior Film: Content, Critics, and Consumption

Description: A Pledge with Purpose explores the arc of these unique, important, and relevant social institutions. Gregory S. Parks and Matthew W. Hughey uncover how BGLOs were shaped by, and labored to transform, the changing social, political, and cultural landscape of Black America from the era of the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights movement.


Noel A. Cazenave’s Perspective on Political Engagement Among African Americans

March 3, 2020

Noel A. Cazenave - Interview on Political Engagement Among African Americans

Ph.D. – Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut

What accounts for low levels of voter turnout among African Americans?

A major problem is the lack of candidates and platforms that truly articulate our concerns. Having to continuously vote for "the lesser of two evils" is not a great motivator; neither is fear. All too often the only choice we have is to vote AGAINST someone who we fear rather than to vote FOR someone we are actually excited about. That fear-driven strategy did not work for the Democrats in 2016 and it won't work in 2020.

Do voter ID laws disproportionately affect voter turnout for African Americans relative to other groups? 

Yes, of course, they do. That is what they are intended to do, and they work fairly well.

Why are blacks and other minorities underrepresented in political office? For example, there are currently only 3 African American senators and there have only been 4 black governors in U.S. history.

Racially targeted gerrymandering is a major cause here; and, of course, racial bigotry is the major factor.

What strategies have proven effective in increasing voter participation and civic engagement among African-Americans?

Passing laws that make voter registration easy, voter registration drives, and offering dynamic and courageous candidates and platforms that can significantly improve the quality of our lives, would all be helpful.

Congratulations to Christin Munsch on her Interview for USA today!





The second half of the Gender Revolution

Christin Munsch, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, says that most millennial men say they’re for gender equality, but that it takes more than that to close the gender gap.

“On some level they believe that they want to be these good feminist men that share housework and responsibilities,” she said. “But I think when all that is said and done and it comes to practice on the day to day basis, there’s a reason why it’s not implemented.”

More and more men are in favor of women occupying male-dominated spaces, but are reluctant to enter spaces that have been historically designated as female.

One reason for that is because our society still values masculinity, Munsch speculates. She said that research has shown that male-designated jobs, such as business and engineering, pay more than most female-designated jobs.

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Matthew Hughey, Recent Media Appearances

31 Jan 2020. Interview for "Disputed NY Times '1619 Project' Already Shaping Schoolkids' Minds on Race.” Real Clear Investigations


After the interview Hughey states "That racial fatalism and reparations should inform the 1619 Project comes as no surprise to scholars who have studied race in America and responses to racism. “This is called Afro-pessimism,” said Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut who is also an adjunct faculty member of the Africana Studies Institute and in the Race, Ethnicity and Politics program. “There is a whole branch of thought that … racism is fundamental to the economic and political structure of the United States.” 





28 Jan 2020. Audio Interview for “A White Savior Complex,” Philanthropology Podcast(PBS).


After the interview Hughey states, "I mean what's the worst thing that someone could call you?  A racist . . . .  It's the ultimate white slur. It is the thing that white people are scared of . . . . the charge of racism is almost like ethnic slurs for white folks. Because you have all types of slurs and horrible things you can call people of color that have charged histories. You have a lot of slurs and people of color of use against white folks. But in a way folks even know them, and aren't even hurt by them.”


3 Nov 2019.  Audio Interview for “Code Switch,” National Public Radio, “Harriet Tubman’s ‘Visions’"

Hughey states "White people are assumed to be smart, to be hardworking, to be problem solvers to figure these things out and do - to do that through science and materialism." . . . .But with black characters, Hughey says, it's different. Think Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile," Whoopi Goldberg in "Ghost," Will Smith in "The Legend of Bagger Vance." Their character's heroism is based on… "A closer connection to the earth or the magic or the supernatural or the spiritual or the divine that white people somehow lost in their march toward civilization."  Hughey says that as black characters gain more visibility in Hollywood, balancing how to portray them is going to take a lot of care.  "So the new ways in which blackness are portrayed are in some ways progressive and new and great. It's great that we have a story about Harriet Tubman.”  But as we get better at portraying black folks as superhuman, Hughey says, we also need to get better at portraying them as human.



18 Sept 2019.  Print Interview for Burlington Free Press, “Behind the manifesto: What does the Patriot Front actually believe?”

"(The Patriot Front) is, in my estimation, a pretty typical manifestation of the modern white nationalist movement,"  Hughey said. Hughey researches race and ethnicity "as a dynamic and ongoing practice with an emphasis on racism, meaning-making, and asymmetrical relations of power.”  Hughey noted that parts of the manifesto were indicative of a white supremacist ideology, but ultimately felt white nationalism was a better descriptor, primarily due to their belief that the U.S. is a white state. . . . Hughey pointed out themes echoing both nationalistic and supremacist rhetoric throughout the manifesto. . . . . The Patriot Front might be classified as a white nationalist group, but an analysis of its ideologies suggests overlap with other belief systems. Hughey pointed out that race is only mentioned three times in the manifesto, but is alluded to throughout. Ultimately, Hughey argued Patriot Front and similar groups are aware of how they are portrayed, attempting to avoid being marked as supremacists. "As if that's somehow better.”


Syracuse Suspends Fraternities for Racism,”:

"While pledging or 'rushing' a fraternity or sorority is an annual rite, so now are the yearly stories about these organizations less than subtle embrace of racism."

2020 Graduate Student Fellowship

February 20, 2020

Congratulations to Amy Lawton, who has been awarded a graduate student fellowship through "The Sociology of Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation” funding initiative, led by Elaine Howard Ecklund (Rice University) and John H. Evans (University of California, San Diego), and funded through the Templeton Religion Trust ( The fellowship will support her research for her dissertation, “Medical Students, Donor Bodies, and the Scientific Sacred.”