Allyson Hobbs

Associate History Professor and Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life



Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Graves Award in the Humanities, and the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award

She is a contributing staff writer to The New Yorker.

Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard University Press in 2014, examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. A Chosen Exile won two prizes from the Organization of American Historians: the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history.

A Chosen Exile has been featured on NPR’s All Things ConsideredBook TV on C-SPAN, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC, The Tavis Smiley Show on Public Radio International, The Madison Show on SiriusXM, and TV News One with Roland MartinA Chosen Exile was reviewed in The New York Times Book ReviewThe San Francisco ChronicleHarper’sThe Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Boston Globe. It was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a Best Book of 2014 by The San Francisco Chronicle, and a Book of the Week by Times Higher Education, one of the Best 15 Nonfiction Books by Black Authors in 2014.

Hobbs gave a TEDx talk at Stanford, and has appeared on C-SPAN, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Her work has been featured on, SlateThe New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, the BBC World Service, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Hobbs graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned her PhD with distinction from the University of Chicago. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford.