Skip to content Skip to navigation

Faculty members

Carter, Prudence L.

Prudence L. Carter
Prudence L. Carter
Academic Title 
Other Titles 

Jacks Family Professor of Education

Professor of Sociology (by courtesy)

Faculty Director, John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities

Contact Information
Program Affiliations 
SHIPS (PhD): Educational Policy
SHIPS (PhD): Sociology of Education
SHIPS (PhD): International Comparative Education
Cultural Studies
Gender Studies
Inner-city Youth
Intergroup Relations
Peer Groups
Poverty and Child Welfare
Qualitative Research Methods
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
Sociology of Culture
Sociology of Education
Urban Education

race, class, and gender inequality; cultural flexibility; social boundaries; and group dynamics among adolescents within different school contexts

cross-national study (in the U.S. and South Africa) examining the social and cultural incorporation of students in both minority-dominant and white-dominant urban schools

race, gender, culture and academic achievement disparities

Prudence L. Carter is the Jacks Family Professor of Education and Professor of Sociology (by courtesy) and Faculty Director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University.  Professor Carter’s research and teaching expertise are in the areas of inequality and the sociology of education, with a particularly focus on race, ethnicity, class, gender, culture and identity. She is the author of the award-winning book, Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White (2005); Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. & South African Schools (2012); and co-editor of Closing the Opportunity Gap:  What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance (all published by Oxford University Press), along with numerous other journal articles, book chapters, and essays.  Professor Carter holds a PhD and MPhil in Sociology from Columbia University, an MA in Sociology and Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University, and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Brown University.  Professor Carter is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and serves on the boards of trustees of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and the William T. Grant Foundation.

  • PhD (Sociology), Columbia University, 1999
  • M Phil (Sociology), Columbia University,1998
  • MA (Sociology & Education), Teachers College, Columbia University, 1995
  • ScB (Applied Mathematics-Economics), Brown University, 1991

Since Fall 2007

Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, 2005-2007

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, 2001-2005

Admission Officer, Brown University, 1991-1993

  • The Conduct of Qualitative Inquiry (EDUC 327A & EDUC 327C)
  • Sociology of Education (EDUC 310/110;SOC 332/132)
  • Urban Education (EDUC 212/112; SOC 228/128)
  • The Ecology of Equality (EDUC 324X)

P. L. Carter & K. Welner. 2013. Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give All Children An Even Chance. New York: Oxford University Press.

P. L. Carter. 2012. Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. and South African Schools. New York: Oxford University Press.

P. L. Carter. 2010. “Cultural Flexibility among Students in Different Racial and Ethnic School Contexts.” Teachers College Record 112 (6): 1529-1574.

P. L. Carter, J. Caruthers, and J. Foster. 2010. “Knowing Their Lines: How Social Boundaries Undermine Equity-based Integration Policies in U.S. and South African Schools.” Perspectives in Education, vol. 27(4): 351-364.

P. L. Carter. 2009. “Equity and Empathy: Toward Racial Achievement and Equality in U.S. Schools in the Obama Era.” Harvard Educational Review , vol. 79(2):287-297.

P. Lichterman, P. L. Carter, and M. Lamont. 2009. “Race‐bridging for Christ? Conservative Christians and Black‐White Relations in Community Life,” In Conservative Christians and American Democracy , edited by Steven Brint and Jean Schroedel, New York: Russell Sage Foundation, pp. 187-220.

P. L. Carter. 2009. Opportunities & Paradoxes: An Examination of Culture, Race & Group Incorporation in Post‐Apartheid South African Schools.” In Thinking Diversity, Building Cohesion: A Transnational Dialogue on Education , edited by M. Nkomo and S. Vandeyar, Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers, pp. 109-132.

Warikoo, N. and P. L. Carter. 2009. "Cultural Explanations for Racial and Ethnic Stratification in Academic Achievement: A Call for a New and Improved Theory." Review of Educational Research , vol. 79(1): 366-394.

Carter, P. L. 2008. "Teaching Students Fluency in Multiple Cultural Codes," in Everyday Antiracism , edited by M. Pollock, New York: The New Press.

Carter, P. L. 2008. "At-Risk Learners." In 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook ,edited by T. Good, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Carter, P. L. 2006. "Straddling Boundaries: Identity, Culture, and School. Sociology of Education , vol. 79(3): 304-328.

Carter, P. L. 2006. "Intersectional Identities: 'Acting White,' Gender and Achievement." Beyond Acting White: Reassessments and New Directions in Research on Black Students and School Success, edited by E. Horvat and C. O'Connor, New York: Rowan and Littlefield.

Carter, P. L. 2005. Keepin' It Real: School Success beyond Black and White. New York: Oxford University Press.

Carter, P. L. 2003. "Black Cultural Capital, Status Positioning, and the Conflict of Schooling for Low-Income African American Youth." Social Problems, vol. 50, no. 1: 136-155.

Faculty Director, John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities

Director, Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE)

Editorial Board Member, The DuBois Review

Faculty Affiliate, Center for African Studies

Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

Fellow, Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University

Fellow, National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado at Boulder

Member, American Educational Research Association

Member, American Sociological Association

Member, Association of Black Sociologists

Member, Society for the Study of Social Problems