Patricia Hill Collins

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Personal Life and Education

Patricia Hill Collins was born in Philadelphia on May 1, 1948. Patricia was an only child and her parents were both involved in the war efforts of World War II. In her early schooling, Patricia was discriminated against for being one of the few African American woman whose parents were in the working class. After public school, she attended Brandies University. Moving to Boston helped her overcome the discrimination she had faced in the past, and she was able to begin shaping her own sociological perspective from being in a new environment. Patricia received her Bachelor of Arts with a major in sociology, and soon after continued her education further at Harvard University, earning her Master of Arts in Teaching. in 1970. Throughout her teaching career, Patricia took part in development of curriculum and education in schools; particularily ones that faced economic and social problems. Patricia moved to Tufts University, as she was a Director in the African American Department, and met her husband Roger Collins in 1977. Two years after, they had baby Valerie. Soon after, Patricia went back to Brandies University and got her doctorate in sociology. In 1982, the family moved and Patricia worked at the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati, in the department of African American Studies where she studied Women's Studies and sociology. In 1996, her dedication payed off as she became the Charles Phelps Taft Distinguished Professor of Sociology. Following her path as a professor, she held a career at the University of Maryland as the Wilson Elkins Professor of Sociology, and from then on she has been working with graduate students in race, feminist scholarship, and sociological theory. Aside from remaining in North America, Patricia has travelled to many places where she gained knowledge regarding how gender, race and many other factors vary in different cultures and places.


Patricia Hill Collins is widely recognized for her well known article: "Learning from the Outsider Within," which was published in the academic journal Social Problems in 1986. The article represents her experiences being an African American woman during her endeavours in education and throughout life. Collins work has widely revolved around the problems that regard African Americans, as well as the misinterpretations having to do with various issues. Aside from this article, Patricia wrote one of many books titled Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge. Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, which was given numerous awards along with a ten year anniversary sequel to the book. Patricia is known for many other books some include, Fighting Words: Black Women and the Struggle for Justice, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology co-written with Margaret L. Anderson. Patricia has been honoured for many of her accomplishments, she focuses mainly on gender and race, and their linkages to repression.

Patricia's Awards

  • Faculty of the Year Award at the University of Cincinnati
  • C. Wright Mills Award for the first edition of Black Feminist Thought
  • Award for Outstanding Service to African-American Students at the University of Cincinnati


  • Named The Charles Phelps Taft Professor of Sociology by the University of Cincinnati, making her the first-ever African-American, and only the second *woman, to hold this position (1996).[12]
  • American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Book Award for her book Black Sexual Politics (2007)[14][15]
  • Emeritus Status from University of Maryland, College Park (2005)[1]
  • Morris Rosenberg Award for Student Mentorship from the University of Maryland (2009)[1]
  • Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize her contributions to racial and ethnic relations from Brandeis University (2012)[17]
  • Distinguished University Professor from University of Maryland (2006)[13]