Allyson Hobbs

Assistant Professor of American History

At Stanford Since

Ph.D., University of Chicago, with distinction; B.A., Harvard University, magna cum laude
Headshot of Allyson Hobbs

Personal website:

Research Interests

My research focuses on African American social and cultural history, African American women's history and twentieth century American history.  I am particularly interested in identity formation, racial mixture, migration and urbanization and the intersections of race, class and gender.

My current book project examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present.  I argue that racial passing, the practice by which light-skinned African Americans deliberately chose to present themselves as white, opens a window onto the enduring problem of race in American society and onto the personal and intimate meanings of race and racial identity for African Americans. 


The Chosen Exile of Racial "Passing:" Allyson Hobbs at TEDxStanford

Video by Kurt Hickman

"Stanford historian re-examines practice of racial 'passing'", Stanford Report, December 19, 2013


  • AAAS/CCSRE Faculty Research Fellowship, 2014-2015 
  • Ford Foundation Fellowship, 2013-14
  • Fellow, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University, 2011-12
  • Stanford University, Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Department of History, 2007-08
  • Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowship, 2007 (declined)
  • Erskine A. Peters Dissertation Year Fellowship Finalist, University of Notre Dame, 2007 (declined)
  • Trustee Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2000-2006

Teaching Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, Stanford University, June 2013
  • Hoefer Faculty Mentor Prize, Stanford University, April 2013 
  • The Graves Award in the Humanities, February 2012
  • St. Clair Drake Teaching Award, Stanford University, May 2010
  • Hoefer Faculty Mentor Prize, Stanford University, April 2010
  • Von Holst Prize Lectureship in History, University of Chicago, 2006


  • African American Women’s Lives
  • Racial Identity in the American Imagination
  • American Identities: Research Seminar in the Major
  • From Freedom to Freedom Now:  African American History, 1865-1965
  • Graduate Core Colloquium in Twentieth Century U.S. History 

Television and Radio Appearances

Professor Hobbs in the News

Professional Service

  • Advisory Committee Member, African and African American Studies
  • Committee-in-Charge Member, American Studies Program
  • Faculty Affiliate, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
  • Faculty Affiliate, Ethics in Society
  • Faculty Affiliate, Feminist Studies
  • Mellon-Mays Faculty Advisor
  • Pre-Major Advisor