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Reuben A. Buford May earned his B.A. in criminal justice from Aurora University in 1987, his M.A. in sociology from DePaul University in 1991 and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1996. He serves as professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, where, in 2017, he was named Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, considered the most prestigious faculty honor for teaching bestowed by the university.
May is the recipient of numerous university undergraduate teaching awards, including the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award in recognition for teaching excellence in Texas, Texas A&M’s Glasscock Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (2015-2018) and the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in the area of Teaching (2013). He also served on the American Sociological Association, Contributions to Teaching Excellence Selection Committee (2003-2006). 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
May’s primary research areas are race and ethnicity, urban sociology and the sociology of sport. He studies how some institutions shape situational contexts and how individuals within those contexts negotiate, interpret and define race, class, culture and identity. He has published dozens of journal articles as well as three books – “Urban Nightlife: Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space” (2014), “Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race, and the American Dream” (Association of Humanist Sociology Book of the Year, 2008), and “Talking at Trena’s: Everyday Conversations at an African American Tavern” (2001).