David Cunningham’s (1970- ) received a BA in English and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut before earning his MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. As a graduate student he developed his academic interest in leftist social movements, the FBI, and the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1999 he became an assistant professor of sociology at Brandeis. He worked his way up to associate professor, eventually becoming affiliated with Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He served as Chair of the Social Justice and Social Policy Program, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, positions he held until his departure from Brandeis for the University of Washington in 2015. While at Brandeis, Cunningham continued his research and published two books, There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence (2004) and Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan (2013). Also while at Brandeis, Cunningham won the 2014 Outstanding Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section.