Blee Named Distinguished Professor of Sociology

Issue Date: 
January 8, 2007


Pitt Professor of Sociology Kathleen Blee, one of the country’s leading experts on gender, race, and hate groups, has been named Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, effective Jan. 1. The new title recognizes Blee’s extraordinary scholarly attainment in her field.

Blee, who joined the Pitt faculty in September 1996, has spent much of her career researching racist movements and hate groups. Her latest book, Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement (University of California Press, 2002), was based on lengthy interviews with 34 unidentified women from racist and anti-Semitic groups in the United States. The book revealed that, contrary to popular assumptions, many women who joined such groups were educated, did not grow up poor, had not suffered childhood abuse, and were not initially deeply racist. The New York Times Book Review called the work “a meticulous job of historical sleuthing.”

Blee is also the author of Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s (University of California Press, 1991), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; coauthor of The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia (Cambridge University Press, 2000); and editor of No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest (New York University Press, 1998) and Feminism and Antiracism: International Struggles for Justice (New York University Press, 2001). Blee has published articles on topics ranging from racial violence to managing emotion in the study of right-wing extremism and has been invited to speak at conferences and other settings around the world.

In 2004, she received the Pitt Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award for a Senior Scholar as well as the YWCA Pittsburgh Racial Justice Award. She has been elected to the governing council of the American Sociological Association for four consecutive years. She directed Pitt’s Women’s Studies Program from 1996 to 2001.

Blee earned the B.A. degree in sociology at Indiana University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.