Bruce Haynes- 2021 Sondra & Howard Bender Scholar

Bruce Haynes Judaism and the Black Experience: 2021 Bender Visiting Scholar

Bruce D. Haynes (PhD, City University of New York, 1995) As a scholar of racial and ethnic relations and urban communities, my work seeks to understand the processes of Racialization and the consequences of racial classification for creating communities boundaries, particularly within an urban context. His work crosses disciplinary boundaries of American Studies, Community and Urban Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, Religion, and Jewish Studies while it remains embedded squarely in traditional historical and qualitative methodologies of Sociology.

Haynes was born in Harlem, New York. After receiving his B.A. in Sociology from Manhattanville College, he conducted applied research, under sociologist and jury expert Jay Schulman, selecting juries for trials throughout New York State. After earning his doctorate in sociology from the City University of New York (1995) he was appointed Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Yale University in 1995. In 2001, Professor Haynes joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis, as a Professor of Sociology. In addition, He is a Senior Fellow in the Urban Ethnography Project at Yale University.

His most recent book, The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America (New York University Press, 2018), won the 2019 Albert J. Raboteau Book Prize for Best Book in Africana Religions. The work offers the first exploration of the full diversity of Black Jews, including bi-racial Jews of both matrilineal and patrilineal descent; adoptees; black converts to Judaism; and Black Hebrews and Israelites, who trace their Jewish roots to Africa.

In 2012, the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholars Endowed Fund was established to help bring leading scholars in Jewish culture, history, language and religion to CU campuses to further the curricular goals of CU’s Program in Jewish Studies.  Attending lectures by leading scholars in this growing field provides students with the opportunity to learn from a broad range of academics.  In addition, visiting lecturers create a unique opportunity for the Program in Jewish Studies and CU to engage both students and the local community.  Public lectures catalyze discussions that include participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, enhancing students’ ability to think about issues beyond the walls of the classroom.