Clovis E. Semmes

A photo of Clovis Semmes

Professor Emeritus

Africology and African American Studies


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Northwestern University, 1978
  • MA, Sociology, University Of Illinois, Chicago, 1972
  • BA, Sociology, Northwestern University, 1971



  • 2011, The Regal Theater and Black Culture (revised paperback edition), Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2006, The Regal Theater and Black Culture, (hardcover edition), Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 1998, Roots of Afrocentric Thought: A Reference Guide to Negro Digest/Black World, 1961–1976; Number 35 in the Greenwood Press Series: Bibliographies and Indexes in Afro-American and African Studies.
  • 1996, Racism, Health and Post-Industrialism: A Theory of African-American Health, Praeger.
  • 1992, Cultural Hegemony and African American Development, Praeger (paperback edition, 1995). Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book, 1994.
  • In Progress: "From Vaudeville to Rhythm and Blues: Movie-Stage-Show Venues in Black Community Life." Book-length examination of the social function of prominent movie-stage-show venues in historic Black communities.

Articles and Chapters in Books

  • In Progress: "King of Selling: The Rise and Fall of S. B. Fuller," in Building the Black Metropolis and Beyond: African American Entrepreneurship in Chicago, Robert Weems and Jason Chambers, editors.
  • 2012, "The Problem of Race and Chicago's Great Tivoli Theater," in The Black Chicago Renaissance, University of Illinois Press, Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey, editors.
  • 2011, "Entrepreneur of Health: Dick Gregory, Black Consciousness, and the Human Potential Movement," Journal of African American Studies 13 (December): 1–13.
  • 2011, "Charitable Collaborations in Bronzeville, 1928–1944: The Chicago Defender and the Regal Theater," Journal of Urban History, vol. 37, no. 6: 975–991.
  • 2009, "Negro Digest," in the Encyclopedia of African American Education, Sage Publications.
  • 2008, "The Origins of Chicago's Bud Billiken Parade: Correcting Historical Misconceptions," Journal of Illinois History, 11 (Winter): 277–290.
  • 2007, "The Normative Assault on Black Studies," International Journal of Africana Studies, vol. 13, no. 2: 83–98.
  • 2004, "Existential Sociology or the Sociology of Group Survival, Elevation, and Liberation," Journal of African American Studies, 7, no. 4: 3–18.
  • 2001, "Foundations in Africana Studies: Revisiting Negro Digest/Black World, 1961–1976," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 25: 195–201.
  • 2001, "E. Franklin Frazier's Theory of the Black Family: Vindication and Sociological Insight," Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, xxviii: 3–21.
  • 1994, "The Dialectics of Cultural Survival and the Community Artist . . . ." Journal of Black Studies, 24: 447–461.
  • 1994, "When Medicine Fails . . . ," in Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy 1992, W. Andritzky, ed., International Institute of Cross-Cultural Therapy Research, Germany (revised, first published in National Journal of Sociology).
  • 1993, "Religion and the Challenge of Afrocentric Thought," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 17: 158–163; reprinted in Multicultural Experiences, Multicultural Theories, McGraw-Hill, 1996.
  • 1993, "Making Health Promotion a Goal for the 1990s and Beyond," Black Issues in Higher Education (April 22) 10: 25.
  • 1991, "Developing Trust: Patient/Practitioner Encounters in Natural Health Care," Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 19: 450–470.
  • 1990, "When Medicine Fails: Making the Decision to Seek Natural Health Care," National Journal of Sociology, 4: 175–198.
  • 1990, "Nonmedical Illness Behavior: A Model of Patients Who Seek Alternatives to Allopathic Medicine," Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 13: 427–436.
  • 1990, "The Role of African American Health Beliefs and Practices in Social Movements and Cultural Revitalization," Minority Voices, 6 (Spring): 45–57.
  • 1986, (with B. Logan) "Culture, Ethnicity and Ethnic Families: Relationship to Community Health Nursing," in Family Centered Nursing in the Community, B. Logan and C. Dawkins, eds., Addison Wesley.
  • 1986, "The Sociological Tradition of E. Franklin Frazier: Implications for Black Studies," Journal of Negro Education, 55: 484–494.
  • 1985, "Minority Status and the Problem of Legitimacy," Journal of Black Studies, 15: 259–275.
  • 1983, "Toward a Theory of Popular Health Practices in the Black Community," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 7: 206–213; reprinted in Africana Studies: Philosophical Perspectives and Theoretical Paradigms, Washington State University Press, 2008.
  • 1982, "Black Studies and the Symbolic Structure of Domination," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 6: 116–122.
  • 1981, "Foundations of an Afrocentric Social Science and the Implications for Curriculum Building, Theory and Research in Black Studies," Journal of Black Studies, 12: 3–17.
  • 1981, "African Americans Seeking Natural Health Care: A Study of Belief Change and Maintenance," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 5: 254–263.
  • 1976, "Toward a Sociological Analysis of the Harlem Renaissance: Why Harlem? Black World, (February): 4–13, 93–97; revised and reprinted in the three-volume work, The Harlem Renaissance: A Gale Critical Companion, published by The Gale Group, 2002.


  • AFC 351 The Social Context of African American Health
  • AFC 361 The African American Family
  • AFC 221 African American Social Movements
  • Urbanization and the African American community
  • AFC 311 The African Diaspora
  • AFC 201 Foundations of Knowledge in African American Studies
  • Pedagogy, perspective and practice in serving African American communities
  • Comparative religions in the African American Diaspora
  • Introduction to Black business enterprises
  • From Vaudeville to rhythm and blues: African American expressive culture, 1990-1979
  • AFC 302W Writing for African American Studies
  • Researching Black families


Interests and Expertise

  • Systemic inequality
  • African American institution and social processes
  • African American popular and expressive culture (1865–1970s)
  • Health systems and health behavior
  • Alternative and nonmedical health practices