Dr. Zandria Robinson, assistant professor of sociology at Rhodes College, teamed up with Marcus Hunter, associate professor of sociology at UCLA, to write Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life (University of California Press, 2018). The newly released book provides a sociocultural look at African American communities across the U.S. from the late 19th century to present.
“Chocolate Cities is built on a simple premise: our current maps of Black life are wrong,” write the authors in chapter one. “Instead of the neat if jarring linear progress of movement from the rural South to the urban North, we suggest that the history of Black life in modernity is a boomerang rather than a straight line of progress.” The 312-page book is divided into four parts, drawing on various sources including film, fiction, music, oral history, news media, and census data as well as health, educational, and economic data.
“Modeling the very best of collaborative research and writing, Chocolate Cities is a brilliant, creative, and innovative work,” according to Farah Jasmine Griffin, director of African American Studies at Columbia University. “The authors engage the rich literary and musical heritage that black city dwellers have bequeathed the world while building upon and extending the best social science and humanities scholarship. Hunter and Robinson offer us a beautifully written work that is sure to become an influential classic in the fields of sociology, American studies, African American studies, and beyond.”
At Rhodes, Robinson teaches courses on race, class, gender, intersectionality, inequality, urban sociology, and qualitative methods. She is author of many articles, and her first book, This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South (2014), won the Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award from the Division of Racial and Ethnic Minorities of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
Chocolate Cities is available in paperback and e-book through the University of California Press at