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Ravi K Perry (He/Him/His)


  • Political Science
  • College of Arts & Sciences


Dr. Ravi K. Perry joined the Department of Political Science at Howard University in August 2019 as Chair and Professor.  Previously, Dr. Perry was Chair of the Department of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and was a member of the faculty at Mississippi State University and Clark University (Worcester, MA).  Dr. Perry holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University, each in political science. An expert on Black politics, minority representation, urban politics, American public policy, and LGBT candidates of color, Dr. Perry is the editor of 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests, a book that discusses the efforts of African American, Latino and Asian mayors to represent the interests of minorities in historically White cities in the United States. His second book, entitled Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics, focuses on the challenges Black mayors face in representing Black interests in majority White, medium‐sized cities in the state of  Ohio.  His third book, published with his mother, is The Little Rock Crisis: What Desegregation Politics Says About Us. In it, Perry and Perry frame the story of the Little Rock 1957 desegregation crisis through the lens of memory. Over time, those memories – individual and collective – have motivated Little Rockians for social and political action and engagement. Currently, Dr. Perry is finishing a book that introduces the lives and campaigns of Black, and openly lesbian and gay elected officials in the United States. 

Perry is Immediate Past President of the Association for Ethnic Studies, and a member of the Executive Council for the Urban Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. Perry is a former member of the Executive Council for the Sexuality and Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Previously, Perry was also a member of the Board of Directors and Affiliate Equity Officer for the ACLU of Mississippi, and was also one of the first openly gay branch presidents of color in the history of the NAACP in Worcester, Massachusetts.  

In his limited spare time in the District, Dr. Perry, a ward 7 resident, also enjoys playing tennis, volunteering, and is a member of Metropolitan AME Church. Dr. Perry is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Perry is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including being recognized as one of the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s 50 “Hero Citizens;” Out Magazine’s “Hidden 105” and The Advocate’s “193 Reasons to Have Pride,” and “40 under 40.

Education & Expertise


Political Science

Brown University


American Politics, American Public Policy, African American Politics, Urban Politics, Minority Political Representation, LGBTQ+ Politics and Policy, Black Political Thought, Leadership, Contemporary Political Theory, Ethnic Studies

Dr. Ravi K. Perry is Chair and Professor of Political Science at Howard University.  .Perry is Immediate Past President of the Association for Ethnic Studies.  He is the author/editor of three books: Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics, 21stCentury Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests; and The Little Rock Crisis:What Desegregation Politics Says About Us.Perry is currently writing Black Queer Electoral Politics: Introducing America’s Openly LGBTQ Black Politicians.



Black Queer Politics

The quest for universal freedom of Black queer people continues. (For this course, “Black” denotes the historical, political, and affective ties of many individuals to one another.) In recent years, the United States, has witnessed a political revolution whereby the experiences of Black queers, and their treatment within the American polity, has transitioned from historical invisibility to contemporary, publically recognized, activism.  Within the institutions of higher education, the study of Black queer people has largely centered at the theoretical intersection between Queer Studies and Black/African-American Studies.  Varying theoretical constructs and approaches have sought to examine how these two central disciplines engage (or not) the intersectional experiences of Black queer persons.In this course, we will examine the political dimensions of Black queer life in the United States.  While we do dialogue about select Black queer experiences outside of the United States, our primary focus is on the United States treatment of Black queers as citizens in the 20th and 21st centuries. Moreover, we engage how society and the academy have embraced (or not) the sociopolitical interests of Black queers.This course deals with racialized sexual politics, racialized heteropatriarchy, and social justice movement politics.  Scholars walk us through the long genealogy of black sexualities in the public sphere and public policy and remind us of other legal concerns and political and cultural agendas that shape understandings of racialized sexualities.  This course will explore the terrain of justice and equity as windows into the nature, history, and scholarly and knowledge formations associated with gendered Black politics and Black sexual politics.Central questions of analysis include, but are not limited to: 1) Do African-descended sexual minorities and genders share common desires, or conditions, across generations? 2) What are the policy implications of Black queer interests seeking increasing agency in an era where political agenda setting is largely influenced by a two-party system that has long ignored Black lives? 3) Despite the productive insurgence of popular recognition of Black queer experiences, such as through movements like Black Lives Matter, does the continued absence of a revolutionary or radical queer theory evidence that radicalism is in fact, socially and politically dead?  4) What role does neoliberalism play in advancing and/or curtailing the implementation of the lived interests of Black queers in American public policy?  It is my hope that, perhaps, this course will introduce the transformative politics necessary to fully embrace and adequately represent Black queers through following and participating in actual political transformations on the ground.This course takes a multifaceted approach to Black queer politics, addressing Black theories of gender and queer sexuality, but queer theoretical interrogations of Blackness as well. Students will gain practice applying Black queer analysis as an interpretive lens for contemporary sociopolitical issues and cultural production including via film, music, art, and performance. 




American Politics

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