PRUDENCE L. CARTER is Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor of Sociology at Brown University.  Prior to coming to Brown, Carter was E.H. and Mary E. Pardee Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley from 2016-2021. Professor Carter’s research focuses on explanations of enduring inequalities in education and society and their potential solutions. Specifically, she examines academic and mobility disparities shaped by the effects of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in the United States and global society. 

Carter’s award-winning book, Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White (2005), debates various cultural explanations used to explain school achievement and racial identity for low-income Black and Latino youth in the United States.  Keepin’ It Real was recognized as the 2006 co-winner of the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award given by the American Sociological Association (ASA) for its contribution to the eradication of racism and was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Book Award, given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

Her other books include Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. & South African Schools and Closing the Opportunity Gap: What American Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance (co-edited with Dr. Kevin Welner)—both published by Oxford University Press. Stubborn Roots encompasses a multi-year mixed-method study of racial group dynamics in majority-minority and majority-white schools in the United States and South Africa and illuminates cultural and organizational factors that inhibited the realization of true school integration. Closing the Opportunity Gap brings together top American experts who offer concise, research-based essays, which paint a powerful and shocking picture of denied economic and educational opportunities. 

Professor Carter’s scholarship and writing have appeared also in several journals and book volumes, including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Harvard Educational Review, Social Problems, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Teachers College Record, Review of Research in Education, and the British Journal of Sociology.  It has also been featured on multiple national public radio and TV news programs.

A Brown alumna (’91), Professor Carter received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics and economics. She earned a Master of Art in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University.  

She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Education, Sociological Research Association, and the American Education Research Association.  Professor Carter is the 2022-23 President of the American Sociological Association.