Tukufu Zuberi

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Tukufu Zuberi
Tukufu Zuberi (2010)
Born Antonio McDaniel
(1959-04-26) April 26, 1959 (age 55)
Oakland, California, United States
Occupation sociologist, professor, TV personality, social critic, documentary filmmaker, writer,
Nationality United States
Alma mater San Jose State (B.A.)
Sacramento State (M.A.)
University of Chicago (Ph.D.)
Genre sociology, filmmaking, history, literature, Africa
Subject Sociology, filmmaking

Tukufu Zuberi (born April 26, 1959) is an American sociologist, filmmaker, social critic, educator, and writer. Zuberi has appeared in several documentaries on Africa and the African diaspora, including Liberia: America's Stepchild (2002), and 500 Years Later (2005). He is one of the hosts of the long-running PBS program History Detectives. As founder of his own production company,[1][2] he produced the film African Independence, which premiered at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2013. He is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, and professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.


Born Antonio McDaniel to Willie and Annie McDaniel, and raised in the housing projects of Oakland, California in the 1970s, he changed his name to Tukufu Zuberi, which is Swahili for "beyond praise" and "strength". Zuberi says that he "took the name because of a desire to make and have a connection with an important period where people were challenging what it means to be a human being."[3][4]

Zuberi received a bachelor's degree from San Jose State in 1981, a master's degree from Sacramento State in 1985, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1989. In 1988, he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he became the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, the Chair of the Sociology Department, and the Director of the Center for Africana Studies.[5] He has been a visiting professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The Human Equality and Respect Council at the World Economic Forum, 2008. From left: Dennis Frank Thompson, Conor Gearty, Tukufu Zuberi, Amy Gutmann, Achille Mbembe, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Elie Wiesel, Thomas Sugrue, Dru C. Gladney, Homi K. Bhabha

Zuberi's research focuses on race and African and African diaspora populations. He has conducted research in the fields of social statistics and population studies (demography). He has been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities and on television programs.

In 2013, Zuberi produced his first documentary, African Independence. The film premiered at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2013.[6] The film discusses the beginning of the independence movement and the problems faced by the movement to win independence in Africa.[7][8]

African Census Analysis Project[edit]

Zuberi has headed the African Census Analysis Project (ACAP), a project initiated by the United Nations to advance the process of census enumeration in Africa. Although census-taking eventually became routine, the preservation and analysis of the resultant data were not fully developed within African statistical offices. In recognition of the need to preserve African census data, to avoid perpetual loss due to poor storage, and to encourage and enhance further analysis, dissemination, and utilization of the massive census data, ACAP was undertaken as a joint initiative of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania and African governmental and research institutions. The goal was to promote collaboration among African governments and research institutions at archiving and analyzing African census data, both at national and sub-national levels, and to inform appropriate policy interventions on the continent.

The Kerner Plus 40 Symposium, 2008. From left: Tukufu Zuberi, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and DeWayne Wickham

History Detectives[edit]

Zuberi is a host on the PBS television program History Detectives. The show devotes itself "to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects."[9] Zuberi has taken the audience on an investigation by racing around Death Valley in a 1932 Ford roadster and tracked down a Japanese internment camp survivor.[10] Producer of the show, Tony Tackaberry says "Along with his expertise, Tukufu has a strong, engaging, excited personality that comes through."[11]



  • Tukufu Zuberi. Thicker Than Blood: An Essay on how Racial Statistics Lie (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001). Honorable Mention for the 2002 Gustavus Myers Book Award.
  • Antonio McDaniel. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: The Mortality Cost of Colonizing Liberia in the Nineteenth-Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

Edited volumes[edit]

  • Tukufu Zuberi and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (editors). White Logic, White Methods: Race and Methodology (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008) Winner of the 2009 Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award, American Sociological Association.
  • Tukufu Zuberi, Amson Sibanda and Eric Udjo (editors). The Demography of South Africa Volume 1 of the General Demography of Africa series, General Editor Tukufu Zuberi (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005).

Edited journal issues[edit]

  • Tukufu Zuberi and Tanji Gilliam (Special Editors), "Perspectives on Africa and the World". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 2010, vol. 632 (132 pages).
  • Tukufu Zuberi and Gale Garrison (Guest editors), "Back to the Future of Civilization: Celebrating 30 Years of African American Studies". Special Issue of Journal of Black Studies 2004, Vol. 35, Number 2.
  • Tukufu Zuberi (Guest editor), "Racial Statistics and Public Policy". Special issue of Race and Society 2003 (mistakenly listed as 2001 on volume cover), Volume 4, Issue 2 (132 pages).
  • Laura Chrisman, Farah Griffin and Tukufu Zuberi (Guest editors), "Transcending Traditions: African, African Diaspora, and African American Studies in the 21st Century", Special issue of Black Scholar 2000, Vol. 30, No. 3-4 (80 pages).
  • Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi (Guest editors) "The Study of African American Problems: Papers In Honor of W.E.B. Du Bois". Special issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2000, vol. 568 (316 pages).

Selected video clips[edit]


  1. ^ African Independence Meet the Producer, http://africanindependencefilm.wordpress.com/meet-the-producer/
  2. ^ Tukufu Zuberi CV, http://africanindependencefilm.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/tukufu_zuberi_cv_20103.pdf
  3. ^ "The 16th Annual Celebration of the International Day of Older Persons" (PDF). Improving the Quality of Life for Older Persons: Advancing United Nations Global Strategies. United Nations. Retrieved 4 October 2006. 
  4. ^ Barb Karg The History Detectives: Explore Lincoln's Letter, Parker's Sax and Mark Twain's Watch. John Wiley, 2008, p. xv.
  5. ^ Greg Benson, "New Home, Name, and Faculty for Afro-American Studies" The Pennsylvania Gazette, November/December 2002, p. 21.
  6. ^ Huffington Post My First Film Blog, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-tukufu-zuberi/premiere-my-first-film_b_2581677.html
  7. ^ African Independence Synopsis, http://africanindependencefilm.wordpress.com/synopsis/
  8. ^ Gang, Alison, "Celebration of Black Cinema" UT San Diego, January 31, 2013
  9. ^ Sarah Jordan et al., "76 Revolutionary Minds", Philadelphia Magazine, November 2001, p. 145.
  10. ^ Barb Karg, "The History Detectives: Explore Lincoln's Letter, Parker's Sax and Mark Twain's Watch", John Wiley, 2008, p. xv.
  11. ^ Detecting More Than History? (PBS Ombudsman)

External links[edit]