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Cornell University

Travis Gosa


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Travis L. Gosa



208 Africana





Dr. Travis L. Gosa is Assistant Professor at Cornell University. He holds faculty appointments in the graduate fields of Africana Studies and Education, and is affiliated with the Cornell Center for the Study of Inequality. Since 2008, he has served on the advisory board of Cornell's Kugelberg Hip Hop Collection, the largest archive on early hip hop culture in the United States.  He teaches courses on hip hop culture, educational inequality, and African American families. Dr. Gosa received his Ph.D. in Sociology from The Johns Hopkins University in 2008, along with a certificate in Social Inequality.

His most recent work has been published with peer-reviewed journals Poetics, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Teacher's College Record, Popular Music and Society, and the Journal of American Culture. Gosa is also a contributor to several edited anthologies including Social Media: Impact & Usage (Lexington Books, 2011) and Hip-Hop(e): The Cultural Practice and Critical Pedagogy of International Hip-Hop (Peter Lang, 2012). He is an occasional blogger at

He is currently working on two book projects: (1) "Remixing Change": Hip Hop & Obama, A Critical Reader with Erik Nielson (University of Richmond), and  (2) "The School of Hard Knocks": Hip Hop and the Fight Against Unequal Education.

Born and raised in a small mill town in West Virginia, Travis Gosa shares his geographical roots with African-American thinkers such as Booker T. Washington, Martin Delany, Carter G. Woodson, and Henry Louis ("Skip") Gates.

At Shepherd College, he majored in Political Science and Sociology and received his B.A in 2002. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from The Johns Hopkins University in 2008, along with a Certificate in Social Inequality. He has been an education policy analyst at both the Maryland State Department of Education and American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C.

He is a member of the American Sociological Association, and holds memberships in four honors societies including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Alpha Kappa Delta.

Before arriving at Cornell, he taught courses in sociology and education at Williams College.

Gosa's current research examines the social and cultural worlds of African-American youth. He seeks to understand how the overlapping spheres of family, schooling, and the larger context of race intersect to place black youth at risk while creating advantages for others. In addition, he is interested in how black youth make sense of their own social worlds, particularly how they (re)construct identities and meanings that challenge and/or (re)produce their social status.

He teaches courses on race, education, hip-hop, and the African American family. When he is not doing research, writing, or teaching, Gosa enjoys listening to music, watching reality television, and cooking.