Winthrop University: Adolphus Belk Jr. Named 2021-2022 Thompson Scholar
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Adolphus Belk Jr. Named 2021-2022 Thompson Scholar

January 25, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The monetary award, generated through the Robert and Norma Thompson Endowment which was established during the university's first capital campaign, is given to support work on projects that strengthen the academic, intellectual and co-curricular life of the university. 
  • Belk’s newest publication, an edited volume from the University of Michigan Press, “For the Culture: Hip-Hop and the Fight for Social Justice,” will release next month. He co-edited it with Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey ’04.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University has appointed a new Thompson Scholar for 2021-22: Professor of Political Science Adolphus Belk Jr. 

The monetary award, generated through the Robert and Norma Thompson Endowment which was established during the university's first capital campaign, is given to support work on projects that strengthen the academic, intellectual and co-curricular life of the university. 

Belk’s newest publication, an edited volume from the University of Michigan Press, “For the Culture: Hip-Hop and the Fight for Social Justice,” will release next month. He co-edited it with Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey ’04.

“I’d like to develop a new course on hip-hop and politics that explores the issues we raise in ‘For the Culture,’” Belk said of how he plans to spend his time as Thompson Scholar.

“For the Culture” documents and analyzes the ways in which hip-hop music, artists and scholars have discussed, promoted and supported social justice challenges worldwide. The contributors share how rap music can positively influence political behavior and explore such topics as Black Lives Matter, gender and sexuality, and mass incarceration. 

About Adolphus Belk Jr.

In his nearly 20 years at Winthrop, Belk has been known across campus as “a teacher who engages in inspirational student intellectual development both inside and outside the classroom, serving as a mentor to political science students, African American studies students and students of color across the colleges.” His research and scholarship are widely recognized by the scholarly community of his discipline.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Belk completed his graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in government and politics. He joined the Department of Political Science at Winthrop in 2003.

Belk has taught courses on American government, black politics, public policy, and race and ethnic politics in the United States. He also is the former director of Winthrop's African American Studies Program.

Belk’s research has concentrated on the politics of crime and punishment in the United States, as well as white nationalism in American politics. His work has been published in The Journal of Race and Policy; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society; The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research; National Review of Black Politics; and by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. He also contributed to What Has This Got to do with the Liberation of Black People? The Impact of Ronald W. Walters on African American Thought and Leadership (SUNY Press) and Culture, Community, and Educational Success: Reimagining the Invisible Knapsack (Rowman & Littlefield). 

In 2009, Belk was named Winthrop’s Outstanding Junior Professor, an award that recognizes excellence among assistant professors. In 2015, he won the Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest teaching honor. He served as Faculty Conference Chair and faculty representative to the Board of Trustees from 2019-21 and currently serves as the university’s faculty diversity and inclusion liaison. 

The Thompsons are delighted by this selection: “We congratulate Dr. Belk on his most timely selection as our latest Thompson Scholar.  He has not only been a great teacher for 20 years, but also a powerful force, both within the university and externally, for broader cultural understanding.”

Bob Thompson, retired vice president of Springs Industries, formerly served on Winthrop’s Board of Trustees from 1992-05 and 2008-14, including a term as chair. His other civic commitments include serving as chair of the Winthrop Foundation and on the Board of Visitors. He received the College of Business Administration’s Pinnacle/Summit Award in 2011, which recognized him for his leadership and support of public and higher education. His wife, Norma Thompson, has dedicated her life to the community as a homemaker, former elementary school teacher and civic volunteer.

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or chisarin@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 7/13/22