Stephen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and the Residential College at the University of Michigan. His teaching and writing focus on two areas of recent American history. One is African American political thought and social movements, particularly the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The other area is the evolution of cities since World War II, with an emphasis on grassroots activism and community-based approaches to urban redevelopment. Much of his work focuses on the city of Detroit. He is completing a dual-biography of two long-time Detroit activists, James, and Grace Lee Boggs, and he is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, a community-based organization in Detroit.
He shares his thoughts with Dr. Lee Gill and Sena Adjei-Agbai in the Safe Spaces episode, which explores where and how students from historically marginalized identities have found safe spaces to live, learn, and lead together.