Dr. Clem Harris is the Inaugural Director of Africana Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of History, where he teaches interdisciplinary courses in African American Urban History, African Diasporic History, and Public Affairs.
Dr. Harris holds a Ph.D. in History, with graduate certificates in Urban Studies and Africana Studies received from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. He has received fellowships for research in areas such as Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism; and Africana Studies.
His current book manuscript for the University of Pennsylvania Press titled: Reconstructing Philadelphia: The Persistence of Racism and the African American Struggle for Political Power and Civil Rights in the Urban North is a case study that examines the roles of electoral and protest activism in the fight for racial reform in the urban north from the Abolition Era to the 1980s.
His second book project is a work in progress titled, The View from 125th Street: The Rise and Twilight of the Gang of Four and the Redefinition of Black Political Leadership in New York City, 1965 to 2016, which examines the emergence and sunset of Black political leadership in Harlem and political transformation in NYC and NYS government.
Prior to earning his Ph.D., Harris worked as high-level aide to former New York Governor David A. Paterson, where his influence helped shape a host of social and economic reforms, including drug law reform, reform to New York City's Racial Profiling policy, economic justice initiatives such as the 2010 Business Diversification Act, the state's first Chief Diversity Officer, and the creation of the nation's strongest Minority and Women Owned Business program.
It is important to note that Dr. Harris comes to the American academy with a wealth of professional and civic experiences as a former senior aide who worked at the highest levels of state government in the New York State Executive Chamber, a retired criminal investigator with the New York State Police, a former drill sergeant with the United States Army Reserve, and a dedicated mentor of young people with a long history of mentoring diverse populations and advocacy for equity and inclusion. These experiences are brought to bear in his scholarship, in the classroom, speaking engagements on issues of race, politics, public policy, and American democracy, and mentorship of emerging leaders.