2015 News

​Ever the professor, Oliver gives audience a reading list

Melvin L. Oliver, PhD, a nationally recognized expert on racial and urban inequality, delivered a major speech Wednesday at Washington University in St. Louis, interspersing it with more than a dozen books he recommends. 

Oliver, dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, delivered his address, “Wealth Inequality Through the Lens of Race: Sociological Observations,” to mark Washington University’s re-launching of the Sociology Department and to mark the Center for Social Development’s 20th anniversary. The audience not only packed the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom at Anheuser-Busch Hall, but also overflowed it.

Oliver earned his master’s and PhD in sociology from Washington University. Watch his lecture here.

These are the books he recommended:

  • Oliver, M. and Shapiro, T. M. (2006). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. (2nd ed). Routledge.
  • Conley, D. (2009). Being black, living in the red: Race, wealth, and social policy in America. Tenth anniversary edition, with a new afterword. University of California Press.
  • Shapiro, T.M. (2004). The hidden cost of being African American: How wealth perpetuates inequality. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Baptist, E. E. (2014). The half has never been told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism. Philadelphia: Basic Books.
  • Lipsitz, G. (2011). How racism takes place. Philadelphia: Temple University.
  • Sharkey, P. (2013). Stuck in place: Urban neighborhoods and the end of progress toward racial inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Lipsitz, G. (1999). The possessive investment in whiteness: How white people profit from identity politics. (Revised and expanded ed.) Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Roithmayr, D. (2014). Reproducing racism: How everyday choices lock in white advantage. New York: New York University Press.
  • Tilly, C. (1999). Durable inequality. University of California Press.
  • Katznelson, I. (2005). When affirmative action was white: An untold history of racial inequality in twentieth-century America. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Western, B. (2007). Punishment and inequality in America. Russell Sage Foundation Publications.
  • Alexander, M. and West, C. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press.
  • Pager, D. (2007). Marked: Race, crime, and finding work in an era of mass incarceration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The event was sponsored by the Center for Social Development, the Weidenbaum Center on Economy, Government, and Public Policy, the Department of Sociology, School of Law Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series, the Assembly Series, and the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.