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Reuben A. Buford May

Florian Znaniecki Professorial Scholar and Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reuben A. Buford May received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1996. His primary areas of focus are Race and Ethnicity, Urban Sociology, and the Sociology of Sport. He is interested in how some institutions shape situational contexts and how individuals within those contexts negotiate, interpret, and define race, class, culture, and identity.

May is the author of three books: "Urban Nightlife: Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space" (2014), the award-winning book "Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race, and the American Dream" (2008) and "Talking at Trena’s: Everyday Conversations at an African American Tavern" (2001). He has been a fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professor at MIT. His work has also appeared in scholarly journals such as Qualitative Sociology, Qualitative Inquiry, Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Sociology of Sport Journal, and Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies. In addition to his books and other scholarly publications, May has been featured on radio and television and in print media, in particular for his performance as the #rappingprofessor Reginald S. Stuckey.

May is the winner of numerous University undergraduate teaching awards including the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence award (2017), the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M University, Glasscock Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (2015-2018), Texas A&M University, Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in the area of Teaching (2013), Texas A&M University. He also served on the American Sociological Association, Contributions to Teaching Excellence Selection Committee (2003-2006).


  • –present
    Presidential Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University