Donna J. Nicol, Ph.D.

Title: Professor and Chair
 Africana Studies
(310) 243-3275

Contact Preference: Email

Areas of Expertise

History of African American Education, Conservative Philanthropy and U.S. Higher Education, African American Women’s Educational Activist History, African American Women’s Academic Leadership, Politics of Multicultural/Ethnic Studies Curriculum (do not confuse with Critical Race Theory), Cultural-Identity Taxation of African American Women in Academy

Professional Background

Dr. Nicol’s research focuses on the history of racism and sexism within U.S. higher education, with a specialization in race, education and conservative philanthropy and the history of African American women’s educational activism. Her work has been published in Race, Ethnicity and Education, The Feminist Teacher, History of Philanthropy, Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International, The Encyclopedia of American Women’s History, Encyclopedia of Multiracial America and an edited volume of Habitus of the Hood.

In February 2021, Dr. Nicol was a featured guest expert for the Al Jazeera English documentary The Big Picture: A Race for America, which explored the relationship between conservative philanthropy and the rise in anti-black discourses around education, healthcare, and social justice. Dr. Nicol has also presented her work before domestic and international audiences.


Ph.D., Educational Studies (history of U.S. higher education with specialization on African Americans), The Ohio State University

M.A., Higher Education and Student Affairs, The Ohio State University

M.A., U.S. History (19th and 20th century African American history), CSU Long Beach

B.A., History and African American Studies, CSU Fullerton

Related News Stories

Racism and the Roots of Conservative Philanthropy in the US, Al Jazeera, 2022

Caring in a World That Doesn’t Care, Fresh Off the Vote Podcast, 2022

Racism in the Academy, Insufferable Academics Podcast, 2021

Activism for Profit: America’s ‘Anti-Affirmative Action’ Industry, Al Jazeera, 2021