Eastern Michigan University
direct edit

Clovis E. Semmes

Professor Emeritus



Ph.D. in Sociology, Northwestern University, 1978

M.A., Sociology, University Of Illinois, Chicago, 1972

B.A. in Sociology, Northwestern University, 1971

Interests and Expertise

Systemic Inequality, African American Institution & Social Processes, African American Popular & Expressive Culture (1865-1970s), Health Systems & Health Behavior, Alternative & Nonmedical Health Practices



• 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.


Courses taught

Social Context of African American Health

The African American Family

African American Social Movements

Urbanization and the African American Community

The African American Diaspora

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

Writing for African American Studies

Researching Black Families