Amaka Okechukwu

Amaka Okechukwu

Amaka Okechukwu

Assistant Professor

Social Movements, Race and Ethnicity, Political Sociology, Urban Sociology, Qualitative Methods, Black Politics, Ethnography, Oral History

Amaka Okechukwu is an interdisciplinary scholar engaged in research on social movements, race, community studies, and Black archives. She joined George Mason University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology in Fall 2017.  

Dr. Okechukwu is a 2020 recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. She has also been named a 2020 African American Digital Humanities (AADHUM) Scholar at the University of Maryland-College Park. Her work has been supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Oral History Association, Imagining America, and the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Okechukwu’s research agenda concerns the intersection of collective action and racial justice, as well as urban spatial politics.

Dr. Okechukwu has served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for Advanced Social Science Research at New York University and as a Social Science Research Council-Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Fellow. She received her  Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University (2015) and her undergraduate degrees in English-Creative Writing and Sociology from the University of Southern California.  

Selected Publications

For the latest updates on my work, please visit my website 


Okechukwu, Amaka (2019). To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions (Columbia University Press)

  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award, Division of Racial and Ethnic Minorities, Society for the Study of Social Problems 2020
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett Book Award, Association of Black Sociologists 2020
  • Reviewed in: American Journal of Sociology
  • Author Meets Critic, Eastern Sociological Society 2020
  • Author Meets Critic, Association of Black Sociologists 2019


Okechukwu, Amaka (2021) “Watching and Seeing: Recovering Abolitionist Possibilities in Black   Community Practices of Safety and Security” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research  on Race

Okechukwu, Amaka (2020). “Confronting Scale: A Strategy of Solidarity in Urban Social Movements, New York City and Beyond” City & Community. 19:1060-1083  (Early View Oct 2019)

Okechukwu, Amaka (2014). “Shadows of Solidarity: Identity, Intersectionality, and Frame Resonance” Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change, 37:153-180

Book Reviews

Okechukwu, Amaka. (Forthcoming) “Undermining Racial Justice: How One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality” Journal of African American History         

Okechukwu, Amaka. (2021) “Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education  Contemporary Sociology. 50(1): 37-39

Okechukwu, Amaka (2014). “The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s” Issues in Race and Society. 2:1 1. (104-107)

Manuscripts In Preparation

Okechukwu, Amaka “Urban Social Hauntings: Disappearing Gravestone Murals in Gentrifying Brooklyn” (Conditional Accept at Environment and Planning D: Society and Space)

Okechukwu, Amaka “Insider Knowledge Production: Oral History and Qualitative Methods”

Okechukwu, Amaka. Saving Our City: Grassroots Resistance to the Urban Crisis in Brooklyn (Book Manuscript)

Public Writing

Okechukwu, Amaka (2020, November 30). Prop 16's Defeat and the Future of Affirmative Action. Inside Higher Ed.                                                                                

Okechukwu, Amaka (2020, February 12). Amaka Okechukwu on the Path to Affirmative Action in Higher Education. Columbia University Press Blog

Okechukwu, Amaka (2020, Jan). Racial Tug of War: The Enduring Conflict Over Affirmative Action. The Sociologist. p. 3-5

Recently Quoted In

Ruiz-Goiriena, Romina; Yancey-Bragg, N’dea; and Ryan W.Miller (2021,Jan 7). “’We feared for our safety’: After Capitol riots, Black, Latino Americans worry about more violence in DC” USA TODAY.

Digital Humanities Projects

Black Belt Brooklyn: Mapping Community Building and Social Life during the Urban Crisis