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Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.

Award-Winning Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University

Award-Winning Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University

Travels From Travels From:
Richmond, VA, USA
Speaking Fee Speaking Fee:
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Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. Biography

A trenchant cultural critic, celebrated sociologist, and award-winning writer, Tressie McMillan Cottom is known for rearranging your brain in the span of a carefully turned phrase. Her breadth is phenomenal – it moves from the racial hierarchy of beauty standards and the class codes of dressing for work to the predation of for-profit colleges and the stain of racial capitalism on our plural democracy – all while reimagining the essay form for the 21st century as she goes.

Professor Cottom’s first book, "Lower Ed," captures the zeitgeist on how profit, and debt, moved from the margins of higher education to bankrupt the very heart of American meritocracy. Influential change-makers like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and activists like The Debt Strike Collective cite her book as important for changing the conversation about higher education. Her sharp insights do not let anyone off the hook – she argues that bad federal policy, state disinvestment, amoral narratives about meritocracy, and prestige-driven cultures of traditional higher education all share responsibility.

Dr. Cottom’s far-ranging intellectual interests include books, articles, magazine profiles and opinion-editorials but it is her essays that routinely shape the discourse. Dr. Cottom’s version of the essay – or Tressays, as her devout fans refer to them – is part revolutionary pamphlet, part poetic chapbook, part sociological analysis, and part call-to-arms. Her 2019 collection of essays, "Thick," was a National Book Award finalist that reimagines the modern essay form. Tressays are powerful storytelling that make problems for power. Careful and poetic, Dr. Cottom explores the everyday culture of big ideas like racism, sexism, inequality, and oppression by giving us the language to live better lives.

Cottom is a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and New York Times contributing opinion writer.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. Videos

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom on difficult women
  • Think on This: Tressie McMillan Cottom
    Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology. ... Her book “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the ...
  • OpenCon: Tressie McMillan Cottom: Open in the Age of Inequality ...

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. Books

  • Thick: And Other Essays
    Thick: And Other Essays
  • Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy
    Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

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  • What topics does Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. speak about?

    Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Activism, Authors, Culture, Diversity, Education, Social Justice, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. travel from?

    Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. generally travels from Richmond, VA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. for your event is $30,000 - $50,000. Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. generally travels from Richmond, VA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Montel Williams, Spike Lee, Nikki Giovanni, Tania Israel and Ric S. Sheffield. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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