Professor Kathleen Blee received her BA in sociology from Indiana University in 1974. She carried out her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, earning the MS and PhD in sociology in 1976 and 1982, respectively. Professor Blee began her faculty career in 1981 at the University of Kentucky where she eventually held the rank of Professor. While at Kentucky, she served as Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and as Director for the Women’s Studies Program. Blee joined the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Sociology at the rank of Professor in 1996.  She has served as the Director of the Women’s Studies Program and chair of the Department of Sociology, and was appointed Distinguished Professor of Sociology in 2007. She has affiliated appointments in Departments of History and Psychology, as well as the Women’s Studies Program. She is also associated with the Cultural Studies Program and the Center for Race and Social Problems.  She currently serves as associate dean for graduate studies and research.

A highly productive scholar who communicates her research through both scholarly articles and books, Blee has published 76 journal articles, encyclopedia entries and book chapters. She has published three edited or co-edited books and has four scholarly monographs. Her first monograph, Women in the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, was published by the University of California Press in 1991. Her coauthored book with Dwight Billings, The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2000. Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement was published by the University of California Press in 2002. Blee’s next monograph, Making Democracy: How Activist Groups Form, was published in 2012.  She is currently studying the emergence of social action through an ethnographic study of urban bus riding and, with several colleagues, conducting research on how people exit from violent white supremacism.

Blee’s many awards include all three of the major teaching and scholarship awards at the University of Pittsburgh—the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching award, and the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. This year she received the lifetime achievement award from the Center for the Study of Social Movements at Notre Dame University.