Samuel Kelton Roberts, PhD
Director, Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS)
Associate Professor of History (Columbia Univ.Sch. of Arts & Sciences)
Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Columbia Univ. Mailman School of Public Health)
Samuel Roberts is Director of the Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies(IRAAS), Associate Professor of History (Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health), and Associate Professor of of African-American Studies. He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American history, the history of public health, urban history, and the history of social movements. His book, titled Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) is an exploration of the political economy of health and tuberculosis control between the late nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, a periodization which encompasses both the Jim Crow era and the period from the bacteriological revolution to the advent of antimicrobial therapies. Contrary to conventional interpretations, Roberts argues that the local politics of race and labor greatly influenced the evolution of antituberculosis measures and the development of the early public health state. He has held several fellowships, including the Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellowship; the Schomburg Center for Black History and Culture (New York Public Library) Scholar in Residence Fellowship; a fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars; and a Career Development Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Roberts earned the degree of AB in History and African-American Studies at the University of Virginia, and his MA and Ph.D. in History at Princeton University.
Roberts is currently researching and writing a book-length project which examines the policy and political history of heroin addiction treatment, 1950s-1990s, tracing urban policy at the beginning of the postwar heroin epidemic, through the adoption of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the 1960s, and syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and harm reduction in the 1980s-1990s. He has published research relating to this project inSocial History of Alcohol and Drugs and in a special edited volume in the series Advances in Medical Sociology, and blogs occasionally for the Huffington Post. Along with his faculty membership in Columbia University’s Department of History and in Mailman’s Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Dr. Roberts has affiliations with the University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS), Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), and the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program (HSS), where he served as Coordinator of the the Columbia University HSS Working Group in African-American History and the Health and Social Sciences (AAHHSS).
in 2013-14 Dr. Roberts currently was the Policy Coordinator for a newly begun Columbia University Justice Initiative, involving the schools of Arts & Sciences, Journalism, Law, Education (Teachers College), Nursing, and Social Work. From 2013 to 2014, he also was a member of the Mailman School of Public Health’s Working Group on Public Health and Mass Incarceration, and the organizer of the Columbia University Institute for Research in African American Studies conference titled, Challenging Punishment: Race, the People’s Health, and the War on Drugs (4-5 October 2013).
Samuel Roberts tweets from @SamuelKRoberts.