Sam Richards (sociologist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Samuel Martell "Sam" Richards (born September 3, 1960) is a sociologist working at the Pennsylvania State University. His work focuses on race and ethnicity.[citation needed]

Early years[edit]

Growing up in a working class household with no expectations by family or teachers to attend college, Richards reluctantly enrolled in classes at his local university but after two-and-a-half years he still had not achieve sophomore status. “I was busy working and trying to be a rock star,” he claims. But midway through his third year he contracted a fever to learn and directed all of his energies toward his studies, deciding that sociology would offer the “greatest flexibility to learn everything about anything.”[1]


Richards received his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of Toledo,[2] both in sociology. He also received a PhD from Rutgers University in Sociology and the socioeconomic development of Latin America and Africa.[3]


University of Toledo[edit]

At age 24, Richards was hired to teach a cybernetics course called “Cybernetics and Human Ecology” at the University of Toledo. The first class session was starting only fifteen minutes after he signed the contract – and he didn’t even know what cybernetics was. So the first thing he did when class started is to ask if anyone knew. Today he still recalls that as one of the most amazing teaching experiences of his life.[4]

Pennsylvania State University[edit]

Richards began teaching at Pennsylvania State University in 1990.[5] He is a senior lecturer at The Pennsylvania State University[6] and teaches the largest race relations course in the United States.[7] This course, Sociology 119 – Race and Ethnic Relations, enrolls 725 students each semester. As a professor, he is well known on campus and his iconoclasm landed him in "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America,"[8] a book published by David Horowitz that critiques the dominance of liberal thinking in the academy. This video is a trailer for Sociology 119.

World In Conversation[edit]

Along with Dr. Laurie Mulvey, Dr. Richards serves as the co-director of the World In Conversation Center for Public Diplomacy at Penn State.[9] As a 2010 Teaching and Learning with Technology Faculty Fellow, Richards created the organization website[10]


Richard's TEDx Talk called a "Radical Experiment in Empathy" was the third most-widely viewed TEDx talk in the world as of May 2011.[11]


  1. ^ "About Sam Richards". World In Conversation. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  2. ^ "Sam Richards". Race Relations Project. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  3. ^ "Sam Richards". Discover the Networks. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "TEDxPSU - Sam Richards - A Radical Experiment in Empathy". TEDxTalks. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "About Sam Richards". World In Conversation. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  6. ^ "Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  7. ^ "Sam Richards". Pennsylvania State University.
  8. ^ "Sam Richards Gets Real". Onward State.
  9. ^ "About Sam Richards". World In Conversation.
  10. ^ "Sam Richards". Pennsylvania State University.
  11. ^ "Race Scholars at Rice". Rice University. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2012.

External links[edit]