Tehama Lopez Bunyasi

Photo of Tehama Lopez Bunyasi
Titles and Organizations

Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Carter School

Contact Information

Phone: 703-993-9363
Campus: Arlington
Building: Arlington: Vernon Smith Hall
Room 5090
Mail Stop: 4D3


Tehama Lopez Bunyasi is Associate Professor at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. A political scientist by training, her scholarship is broadly concerned with matters of race, racism and antiracism in the United States, with specializations in structural inequality, racial attitudes and ideologies, racial marginalization, and the politics of whiteness.

In her book Stay Woke: A People's Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter (NYU Press, 2019), she and co-author Candis Watts Smith illuminate lessons from the current Movement for Black Lives to equip people to become effective racial justice advocates and antiracists. Blending together a wealth of scholarly work with critical reflections from popular culture, Stay Woke sheds light on the precarious nature of Black lives in the United States by unmasking structural racism and explaining how even well-meaning people can reproduce racial inequality. Created as a toolkit and written in accessible language, Stay Woke empowers its readers to become more knowledgeable participants in public dialogue, activism, and American politics. 

Lopez Bunyasi's second book project Breaking the Racial Contract: Conscious Egalitarianism and the Politics of Whiteness (under contract with NYU Press) utilizes nationwide survey data and in-depth interviews with antiracist activists to explore the relationship between whites' perceptions of racial privilege and support for racially egalitarian policies and practices. In redirecting the study of racial attitudes to address the under-articulated side of racial inequality—racial advantage—this book maps out a constellation of critical resistance to the hierarchical racial order and brings attention to the not-fully-realized potential of privilege-cognizant politics.

Her article-length peer-reviewed research has been published in a number of academic journals, including Perspectives on PoliticsJournal of Race, Ethnicity, and PoliticsPolitics, Groups, and IdentitiesPolity; Sociology of Race and EthnicityThe Black Scholar; Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review; and Radical Teacher.

Dr. Lopez Bunyasi engages a broader audience on matters of American politics, racial disparities  and racial violence by contributing commentary to a variety of national and international media outlets, including PBS, The New York Times, C-SPAN, NBC News, Voice of America, and the Scene on Radio podcast.

Prior to joining the Carter School, Dr. Lopez Bunyasi was a faculty member at Ohio University, and held the Samuel DuBois Cook Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences. She is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and a supportive alumna of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. Most recently, she received the Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation & Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She has a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

In the News

  • Latino voters aren't apathetic, Sanders' Nevada win shows. Stop blaming them for low turnout.
    Published on February 24, 2020
    Full article
  • Excerpts from Stay Woke featured in Yes! Magazine article "The Language of Antiracism" for special issue, The World We Want: Solutions We Love
    Published on February 18, 2020
    Full article
  • Discussing "White America and the Racial Divide"
    Published on February 19, 2018
    Full article
  • Role of University Presses in American Society
    Published on November 6, 2019
    Full article
  • 'Trump Supremacy': Mason professor discusses equivocator-in-chief's lack of moral leadership
    Published on August 15, 2017
    Full article
  • Book launch for Stay Woke: A People's Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter
    Published on September 26, 2019
    Full article
  • Entering College? Latino Professors Share Some Great Advice for 2016
    Published on August 25, 2016
    Full article
  • How Did Democratic Candidates Do? Our Latino Panel Weighs In
    Published on October 12, 2015
    Full article
  • Charleston Shootings: The Intersection Of Race And Gender
    Published on July 6, 2015
    Full article
  • For Economic Growth, Repeal Drug Laws and Rehabilitate Ex-Cons
    Published on October 18, 2012
    Full article

Presentations and Performances

  • Elections 2016: Could America Go Fascist? And What Can We Do About It?
    Feb 28 2016 | Washington DC
  • Civil Rights Event Series: Understanding Privilege
    Jan 19 2016 | Arlington Campus
  • Colorblindness and unconscious racism
    Jan 21 2015 | Metropolitan Building


  • PhD, Political Science, University of Chicago
  • MA, Political Science, University of Chicago
  • BA, American Government, University of Virginia