Carol M. Swain

Professor of Political Science
Professor of Law

Carol Swain's work on representation and race relations has earned her national and international accolades. Her most recent book is Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith and Promise. Her highly acclaimed book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress, was named one of the seven outstanding academic books of 1994 by Library Choice Journal, received the 1994 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U.S. on government, politics or international affairs, the Hardeman Prize for best scholarly work on Congress during 1994-95, and was the co-winner of the Key Award for the best book published on southern politics. Black Faces was cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Johnson v. DeGrandy (1994) and by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in Georgia v. Ashcroft (2003). She has also written and edited on immigration and white nationalism. A widely recognized expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership and evangelical politics, Professor Swain serves on the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and USA Today. She is a regular contributor to Fox News' Hannity’s Great American Panel segment and she has been a regular contributor to CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight. Professor Swain has appeared on BBC Radio, NPR, CNN's Andersen Cooper, Fox News Live, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, The Washington Journal and ABC's Headline News, among other media. Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Professor Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She is a foundation member of the Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.


Representative Publications

  • Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith and Promise (Thomas Nelson Press, 2011)
  • “A Judeo-Christian Approach to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” 9 The Review of Faith and International Affairs 11 (2011)
  • "Mixed-Status Families and the Conundrums Imposed by Birthright Citizenship,” in Legal Briefs on Immigration Reform from 25 of the Top Legal Minds in the Country” (Mona Parsa and Deborah Robinson eds.) (Robinson Omnimedia Publishing 2011)
  • Debating Immigration (Cambridge University Press, 2007) (editor)
  • Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress (Harvard University Press, 1993, 1995) (Reprinted by University Press of America, 2006)
  • Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America (Cambridge U. Press, 2003) (with R. Nieli)
  • The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • "Understanding Racial Polarization on Affirmative Action Issues: The View From Focus Groups," in Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America (J. Skrentny, ed., University of Chicago Press, 2001) (with K. Greene & C. Wotipka)
  • "Affirmative Action, Legislative History, Judicial Interpretations, Public Consensus," in America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences (N. Smelser, W. Wilson & F. Mitchell, eds., National Research Council, 2001)
  • "Life after Bakke - White's and Blacks Agree: Public Support for Fairness in Educational Opportunities," 16 Harvard Black Letter Law Journal 147 (2000) (with Rogers and Silverman)
    Full Text | HEIN

Download HighRes Photo

Contact Information

(615) 322-1001 (voice)
(615) 322-6631 (fax)
Room 270 (office)

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
M.S.L. Yale University
M.A. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
B.A. Roanoke College