ABA Executive Board


Andrea Abrams ([email protected])

Andrea Carol Abrams  is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Centre College – Danville, KY. She is the author of God and Blackness: Race, Gender and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church (NYU Press, 2014). Before teaching at Centre, Abrams taught at the University of Southern Mississippi, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, and Spelman College. Her research focuses on racial and gender issues in the South. Abrams has a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Agnes Scott College. She earned a M.A. in anthropology, a graduate certificate in women’s studies, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Emory University.


Nicole Truesdell ([email protected])

Nicole Truesdell is the Senior Director of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness and Affiliated faculty in the Critical Identity Studies at Beloit College. Her general interests are in radical pedagogy, academic hustling, and social justice.  Her research focuses on the intersections of race, racism, gender, class, citizenship and the modern nation-state, higher education, and radical black thought in the US and UK. She earned her PhD. in anthropology from Michigan State University. Her latest article, “The Role of Combahee in Anti-Diversity Work” is forthcoming in Souls.


Bianca Williams ([email protected])

Bianca Williams is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center-City University of New York. Williams, a black feminist cultural anthropologist, studies topics related to race, gender, and activism, including black feminist leadership and pedagogy, most recently in the Black Lives Matter movement. She is the author of the forthcoming book The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018). She was previously an associate professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she received the 2016 American Anthropological Association and Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology.


Ashanté Reese ([email protected])

Ashanté M. Reese is Assistant Professor of anthropology at Spelman College. She completed her Doctorate in anthropology (with a specialization in race, gender, and social justice) at American University in 2015 where she also earned a Masters in Public Anthropology in 2013.  Her dissertation, “Groceries and Gardens: Race, Place, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.” is an ethnographic exploration of food access and community building in a D.C. neighborhood. Situating the neighborhood in historical and contemporary perspectives, she specifically examines the roles of race and class in the gradual decline in food access and in the ways residents actively navigated the decline. In addition to her food studies work, Dr. Reese has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Baltimore, MD, during which she interviewed aging Baltimore residents about their Diabetes care an management to ascertain similarities and differences across race, gender, and class.

Laurian Bowles ([email protected])

Laurian Bowles is Associate Professor & Chair of anthropology and core faculty of Africana Studies at Davidson College.  As a cultural and visual anthropologist, her research interests include ethnographic photography, sensory ethnography in Ghana and the African Diaspora and feminist theory. Whether in her dissertation with rural to urban migrants in Ghana or ongoing projects focused on photographic representation and power, she is always interested in the mobility and migration of African and African-descendant women. Dr. Bowles’s research methodologies also use collaborative photography with Ghanaian women and queer women of color and  at Davidson College, Dr. Bowles teaches courses on decolonizing anthropology theory, feminist ethnography, African popular culture and diasporic studies. She earned her PhD in Anthropology (with a specialization in visual ethnography, migration and feminist methodologies) from Temple University in 2011, an MA in Anthropology of Media at SOAS in 2001 and a B.A. in Journalism and African and African American Studies at Penn State.

Emily Veitia ([email protected]) 

Emily Veitia specializes in biological anthropology, primate behavior, and ethnoprimatology alongside her current administrative role at Central Washington University. Emily focuses on endangered primates, including chimpanzees, orangutans (both species), and gibbons. Her Master’s research concerned the heterospecific interactions of orangutans and gibbons, and she looks forward to completing a Ph.D. in the study of social interactions among non-human primates.


Michael Ralph ([email protected])

Michael Ralph teaches in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, where he serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Michael is the author of the University of Chicago Press book, Forensics of Capital. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transforming Anthropology, the flagship journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists, and a member of the Cultural Anthropology Editorial Board. Michael wrote and directed the forthcoming animated, short, musical, “Fishing,” which explores the ingenuity of people who are incarcerated. Michael is responsible for the Treasury of Weary Souls, the world’s most comprehensive ledger of insured slaves.

Laurence Ralph ([email protected])

Laurence Ralph is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He is the author of Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago (University of Chicago Press). His scholarly work explores how the historical circumstances of police abuse, mass incarceration, and the drug trade naturalize disease, disability, and premature death for urban residents, who are often seen as expendable. Theoretically, his research resides at the nexus of critical medical and political anthropology, African American studies, and the emerging scholarship on disability. He combines these literatures to show how violence and injury play a central role in the daily lives of black urbanites. Laurence explored these diverse themes in Anthropological TheoryDisability Studies Quarterly, Transition, and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. Laurence earned a PhD Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Institute of Technology where he majored in History, Technology and Society.

Aisha Beliso-de Jesus ([email protected])

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús is Professor of Anthropology in the Departments of Spanish and Portugese and American Studies at Princeton University. A cultural and social anthropologist, Dr. Beliso-De Jesús has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States since 2003. Her book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion(Columbia University Press, 2015) details the transnational experience of Santería, in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. Her current research, “Policing African Diaspora Religions,” draws on ethnographic research with police and religious practitioners in the United States exploring questions of race, religion, and policing.


Michelle Munyikwa ([email protected])

Michelle Munyikwa is an MD/PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research explores the intersection of care and governance in Philadelphia through the lens of displacement, beginning with an ethnographic study of refugees and the institutions that serve them. She analyzes Philadelphia – and by extension, the United States – as a place shaped by migration and displacement, from successive refugee migrations beginning in the late 18 century to other movements, like the Great Migration, that have shaped demographic patterns and social life in the City of Brotherly Love. Drawing from a large, diverse archive that brings news, personal narratives, oral histories, and cultural representations into conversation with semi-structured interviews and ethnographic participant-observation at multiple sites, her work strives to understand what making refuge looks like and for whom true asylum is possible. Broadly, she is interested in questions of race, inheritance, embodiment, temporality, affect and care. She received her B.S. from the College of William and Mary in 2011, where she self-designed a major in biochemistry and molecular biology and dual-majored in anthropology.

Amelia Herbert ([email protected])

Amelia Simone Herbert is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology and Education program at Columbia University, Teachers College. Amelia’s research focuses on youth and the politics of aspiration in the context of unequal schooling landscapes. In particular, she is interested in the speculative aspects of schooling and the educational moves people make to expand possible futures in the face of spatially and racially inscribed inequality. Her dissertation is an ethnography of a no-fee independent high school in Cape Town’s oldest peri-urban township which explores how students, families, and alumni perceive the role of schooling in achieving upward mobility and broader social transformation in the “new” South Africa. Amelia holds a B.A. in History from Duke University and master’s degrees from Hunter College and Teachers College. She was a teacher in Newark and New York City public schools for nearly a decade and has also taught in teacher education programs that serve high need secondary schools in New York City and Cape Town. Amelia’s current research is supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Fulbright-Hays Program.


Riché Barnes ([email protected])

Riché J. Daniel Barnes is the Dean of Piersen College at Yale University where she is also an affiliate professor in the Department of Anthropology. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College, her M.S. in Urban Studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University. Her research to date has focused on a broad range of issues concerning Black families throughout the African Diaspora (broadly defined), schools, communities, and cities; Black women’s roles as mothers; and gender as it pertains to marriage, career, and motherhood. Her book, Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood and Community (Rutgers Press 2016), was nominated for an NAACP award and named winner of the 2017 Distinguished Book Award for the Race, Gender, and Class Section of the American Sociological Association. Prior to her role at Yale, Dr. Barnes taught at Smith College and was Assistant Dean of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Endicott College.


Kamela Heyward-Rotimi ([email protected])

Kamela Heyward-Rotimi is a public scholar-activist whose work reflects her commitment to actualizing ‘theory into practice.’  Executive Director and Founder of the international Knowledge Exchange Research Group, (KERG), she holds affiliations with Duke University and Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.  KERG is currently conducting research that will inform the development of an open source digital repository and open access educational program that will support the bidirectional exchange of scholarship for African descended scholars.  Her scholarship which addresses the intersection of race, science, and digital media/technology examines racialized communities use of digitized communication mediums to negotiate transnational social, economic, and political injustices.  Awarded the international California Series Public Anthropology Book award, she is completing a manuscript exploring Nigerian youths’ appropriation of new media technologies in the advance fee fraud online scam ‘419’, also known as Yahoo-Yahoo, and the scams impact on the Nigerian national identity. Heyward-Rotimi received her B.A. in English with a specialization in Sociology/Anthropology from Spelman College and her M.A./Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Kalfani Turé ([email protected])

Kalfani Turé is a practicing urban ethnographer, who currently holds a Postdoctoral Associate position at the Urban Ethnography Project at Yale University. Ture` earned a BA in African/African American Studies and Criminal Justice at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a MA in Applied Anthropology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he holds a doctorate of philosophy degree from American University in Washington, D.C., with a focus on race, place, urban crime and urban ethnography. The particular site of Ture’s doctoral research is one of the most historical African American neighborhoods within Washington, DC (WDC) and the largest and most ill-reputed public housing community in the nation’s capital. This public housing community, formally named Barry Farm Public Dwellings by city officials and outsiders and referred locally and affectionately as the “Farms,” is located east of the Anacostia River (EoR) – a river that forms an expansive separation between the WDC’s majority African American communities from their more affluent and privileged counterparts on the mainland. The Farms’ community serves as a time capsule to which each segmented layer of time informs social science about the nexus between race and place and how citizenship is constituted and then re-constituted both racially and spatially. It also informs us on the operations of structural violence as deployed by the elite and political representatives of the state.