AAG Enhancing Diversity Awards Honor Pioneers
May 31, 2013
Clyde Woods passed away suddenly last year and he is very much missed. He was an important black scholar and was a gracious mentor to many in geography. Woods began his appointment at the University of California, Santa Barbara in fall 2005. In 2009, he became Acting Director of the Center for Black Studies Research. With a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, Woods developed a one-of-a-kind research program engaging social and public policy issues by examining the cultural practices of those oppressed by such policies. His book, Development Arrested, is highly acclaimed and a model of interdisciplinary research that shifted the telling of the history of the Mississippi Delta by unraveling the blues epistemology of its residents. At the time of his passing, Woods had just published In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: New Paradigms and Social Visions (2010), a Johns Hopkins University Press book version of his special edited American Quarterly issue on Katrina. He was also working on three additional books—Development Drowned and Reborn on Post-Katrina New Orleans (under review at University of California Press), a book on Black California that emerged from funded research at the Center for Black Studies Research and a revised, updated version of Development Arrested. A prolific scholar with a commitment to social justice, Woods was a ground-breaking thinker, believing that the purpose of public intellectual thought was to challenge and contest the connections between knowledge embedded in communities of color and the knowledge disseminated by universities. He has been an important mentor to many, and his co-edited book, Black Geographies, with Katherine McKittrick, has been a pivotal text in race and human geographic knowledge production.