Camille Z. Charles

 Camille Z. Charles Headshot

Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences

Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies
Faculty Director of the Office of Penn First Plus
Chair, Department of Africana Studies


228 McNeil Building


Camille Zubrinsky Charles is Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Education, and the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Race, Class and Residence in Los Angeles (Russell Sage, Fall 2006), which explores class- and race-based explanations for persisting residential segregation by race. Along with Douglas S. Massey, Charles is co-Principal Investigator for the 1999-2003 National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, a quantitative study of a cohort of students attending 28 selective colleges and universities in the US. The project is the subject of three co-authored books: The Source of the River: The Social Origins of Freshmen at America’s Selective Colleges and Universities (2003, Princeton University Press). Taming the River: Negotiating the Academic, Financial, and Social Currents in Selective Colleges and Universities (2009, Princeton University Press) and, most recently, Young, Gifted, & Diverse: Origins of the New Black Elite (2022, Princeton University Press).

Professor Charles earned her Ph.D. in 1996 from UCLA, and joined the Penn Sociology department in 1998 after spending three years at The Ohio State University. Charles has chaired Penn’s faculty senate, directed the Center for Africana Studies, and was instrumental in the establishment of the department of Africana Studies, which she currently chairs. She is also an inaugural faculty co-director for Penn First Plus, the University’s initiative for first-generation and/or low-income undergraduates. And, for the last 18 years, she has directed the Center for Africana Studies Summer Institute for Pre-First Year Students.

Research Interests
  • Urban inequality
  • Racial attitudes and intergroup relations
  • Racial residential segregation
  • Minorities in higher education
  • Racial identity
Selected Publications
CV (file)
CV (url)