Robin D.G. Kelley
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Robin D.G. Kelley (b. 1962) is a professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. From 2003-2006, he was the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia University. From 1994-2003, he was a professor of history and Africana studies at New York University as well the chairman of NYU's history department from 2002-2003. Robin Kelley has also served as a Hess Scholar-in-Residence at Brooklyn College. In the summer of 2000, Dr. Kelley was honored as a Montogomery fellow at Dartmouth College, where he taught and mentored a class of sophomores, as well as wrote the majority of the book, Freedom Dreams.
After earning his doctorate, he began his career as an Assistant Professor at Southeastern Massachusetts University, then to Emory University, and the University of Michigan, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. He later moved to the Department of History at New York University, where he was promoted to the rank of Professor and taught courses on U.S. history, African-American history, and popular culture. At the age of 32, he was the youngest full Professor at NYU.
Kelley has spent most of his career exploring American and African-American history from a Marxist perspective, with a particular emphasis on the political dynamics at work within African-American musical culture, including hip-hop, jazz, and be-bop.
Notwithstanding his Marxian view of economic and political issues, Kelley has eschewed a doctrinaire Marxist approach to aesthetics and culture, preferring a modified surrealist approach. He has described himself in the past as a "Marxist surrealist feminist who is not just anti something but pro-emancipation, pro-liberation." 
He has published several books focusing upon African-American history and culture as well as race relations, including Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class, and Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Kelley is also a prolific essayist, having published dozens of articles in scholarly journals, anthologies, and in the popular press, including the Village Voice and the New York Times.
He is writing a biography of jazz musician Thelonious Monk. Kelley has been working for years with Monk Institute founder Thelonious Monk Jr., who has granted Kelley access to rare historical documents for his biography. No other scholar has ever had such access and support from the Monk family. Kelley is also working on two other books: Speaking in Tongues: Jazz and Modern Africa and A World to Gain: A History of African Americans.
On May 20, 2007, Kelley delivered the keynote address for the graduation ceremony of Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where his mother, Ananda Sattwa, was graduating with a Ph.D. The department had sought him to speak before, but this seemed to be the perfect opportunity, as he would be able to place the hood on his mother's head. 
-Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression (University of North Carolina Press, 1990)
--Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (The Free Press, 1994)
-Into the Fire: African Americans Since 1970 (Oxford University Press, 1996)
-<i>Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America (Beacon Press, 1997)
-<i>Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2003)