Preeminent author and social critic Michael Eric Dyson will speak at Iowa State Jan. 31

AMES, Iowa -- A distinguished public intellectual, whose pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas, will speak about racial issues at Iowa State University on Thursday, Jan. 31.

Michael Eric Dyson will present "Race, Racism and Race Relations in America" at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. His talk is part of Iowa State's Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Series and is free and open to the public.

Dyson has taken a unique path in life from welfare father to church pastor to Princeton Ph.D. His work bridges a generational gap among Americans, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture. He is an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner.

Dyson is a University Professor of sociology at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and the author of 17 books. "Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism" is credited with helping establish the field of black American cultural studies. The New York Times bestseller, "Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?" helped to jumpstart a national conversation on the black poor. In "Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster" — the first major book on Katrina ­— Dyson probed the racial and class fallout from the storm. And The Washington Post hailed his best-selling "April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America" as "an excellent sociological primer on institutionalized racism in America."

A political analyst and guest host on MSNBC, Dyson has appeared on nearly every major media outlet from the "O'Reilly Factor" to "Real Time with Bill Maher." He is a contributing editor for Time magazine and, until recently, hosted a syndicated NPR news and talk program.

Dyson's talk is cosponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association; the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Miller Funds; the George Gund Lecture Fund; Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Planning Committee; and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information on ISU lectures is available online at, or by calling 515-294-9935.