Riché J. Daniel Barnes

Riché J. Daniel Barnes is Associate Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College. A socio-cultural anthropologist, Barnes’s research focuses on a broad range of issues concerning Black families throughout the African Diaspora, including schools, communities, and cities, Black women’s roles as mothers, and gender strategy as it relates to marriage, career, and motherhood. Barnes is the author of Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (2016), in which she coined the term “black strategic mothering” while investigating what she refers to as the neo-politics of respectability. Her book, Raising the Race, was nominated for a 2016 NAACP award, and won the 2017 Distinguished Book Award for the Race, Gender, and Class Section of the American Sociological Association. A scholar committed to excellence in teaching and mentorship, Dr. Barnes is the co-founder and director of the Association of Black Anthropologists Mentoring Program, the incoming President of the Association of Black Anthropologists (2019-21) and winner of the 2019 AAA/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. Her research and essays have appeared in journals and readers including The Second Generation of African American Pioneers (2018), The Annals of Anthropological Practice (2015), The Gender, Culture and Power Reader (2015), The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class (2008), and Cultural Anthropology: Contemporary, Public, and Critical Readings (2020). Barnes’s current ethnographic research expands on her conceptualization of “Black Strategic Mothering” to explore the impact of race, class, and gender on Black and Latinx women’s strategies for educating and enculturating their children in the current neoliberal “choice” market


Bertin M. Louis, Jr.

Bertin Louis is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American & Africana Studies (AAAS) in the Anthropology Department at the University of Kentucky and serves as the inaugural Director of Undergraduate Studies for the AAAS program.  He is a cultural anthropologist with research interests in the African diaspora, Africana Studies, religion (Haitian Protestantism), race and racism, human rights, statelessness, and antiracist movements. Dr. Louis studies the growth of Protestant forms of Christianity among Haitians transnationally, which is featured in his New York University Press book, “My Soul is in Haiti: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas (2015)  which was a Finalist for the 2015 Haitian Studies Association Book Prize in the Social Sciences. He is the President-Elect of the Association of Black Anthropologists (2019-2011), a 2013 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Travel Grant Award recipient and a 2012 American Anthropological Association (AAA) Leadership Fellow. Dr. Louis teaches courses in Black Studies and Cultural Anthropology and he received his PhD in 2008 from the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis.


Lee D. Baker

Lee D. Baker is the Mrs. A. Hehmeyer Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and African & African American Studies at Duke University. He received his B.S. from Portland State University and doctorate in anthropology from Temple University. He has been a resident fellow at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The University of Ghana-Legon, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Humanities Center. His books include From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954 (1998), Life in America: Identity and Everyday Experience (2003), and Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture (2010). Although he focuses on the history of anthropology, he has published numerous articles on such wide-ranging subjects as socio-linguistics to race and democracy. Baker is also the recipient of Richard K. Lublin Distinguished Teaching Award and served as Duke’s Dean of Academic Affairs from 2008-2016, and currently he chairs Duke’s Department of Anthropology.


Karen G. Williams

Karen G. Williams is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Guttman Community College. Her scholarship focuses on the carceral state and the aftermath of mass incarceration, reflecting the socioeconomic and racial inequalities that underlie the criminal justice system as well as current social justice movements. Dr. Williams has conducted ethnographic research in men’s and women’s prisons in the Midwest, examining the way that staff deliver services and adopt evidence-based practices and policies to facilitate reentry for individuals leaving prisons. Her research is relevant to social policy, providing insights into the lived experiences of marginalized communities in the United States. In addition to her work on the criminal justice system, Dr. Williams has studied mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and at Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. She brings mindfulness and meditative practices to her research and teaching in order to build compassionate engagement and to recognize the interconnectedness of all things. Dr. Williams specializes in urban anthropology, race and racism, mass incarceration and prisoner reentry, governance, and the intersection of mindfulness and Buddhist practices with social justice.

Mieka Polanco

Mieka Polanco is a social scientist working on gender equity, racial justice, and social inclusion. With over a decade of research, writing, and teaching about critical race studies, mass incarceration, and the culture of punishment, Dr. Polanco has more recently been working in public policy, focusing on gender and inclusion in international development. She brings an intersectional feminist approach to her work, strives to build alliances with diverse stakeholders, and is guided by the belief that policy and programs should be formed with a nuanced understanding of local sociopolitical dynamics, and respond to the diverse needs and concerns of the communities they aim to serve.


Laurian Bowles

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.

Kaniqua Robinson

Kaniqua Robinson is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology (cultural) from the University of South Florida in December 2018. Her research interests include politics of memory, religion and social control, Black feminism, and racial politics of the Southern United States. Her dissertation study, “The Performance of Memorialization: Politics of Memory and Memory-Making at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys,” investigates the role of religion and the politics involved in the memory-making processes of a state reform school in Marianna, Florida. Dr. Robinson is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation research.


Aisha Beliso-de Jesus 

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 

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.


Omatayo (Tayo) Jolaosho

Tayo Jolaosho is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida and co-editor of African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices. Through longterm ethnographic fieldwork in Johannesburg, South Africa, they examine the role of dynamically embodied performance within activist collectives opposing neoliberal state economic policies. Their current book project based on this research is entitled You Can’t Go to War Without Song: Performance and Community Mobilization in Post-Apartheid South Africa. The book offers a reconceptualization of mobilization that is attuned to activists’ rallying of their own individual bodies and intersubjective bonds through collective action. Tayo’s work has been supported by awards from Fulbright Hays, National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Social Science Research Council, among others.


Kamela Heyward-Rotimi

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.


Pasama Cole-Kwelipzco222's picture

Pasama Cole-Kweli is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. Her doctoral research investigates how the volatile impacts of climate change and systemic marginalization influence youth decision making in rural Zambia. She is particularly interested in the gendered and classed dimensions of youth agency and environmental resilience within the African Diaspora, and more broadly, survival in the midst of severe environmental and economic uncertainty. Pasama’s pre-dissertation fieldwork in Zambia was supported by the American Ethnological Society and The University of Kentucky. She holds a B.S. from the University of Tampa.

Prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, Pasama worked as research assistant for The Field Museum’s Science Action Center, where she conducted an oral history project in Pembroke Township–a rural black community in Illinois. Her work examined how knowledge on uses of indigenous and cultivated plants is deeply connected to generational histories of African-American cultural pride, pain, and migration from the rural U.S. South.

Pasama has spearheaded several environmental education programs for Black and LatinX high school students in the Chicagoland area that prioritize local knowledge and experience. She aims to elevate the lived experiences and expertise of black youth into climate change discourse and environmental policies.


Shanti Parikh

Shanti Parikh is Associate Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and of African and African-American Studies at the University of Washington, St. Louis. Her research focuses on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and capitalism, and the politics of state and global interventions (such as public health, humanitarian aid, and legal reforms) that emerge to manage, protect, and mold populations.  Her primary research has been the history and ethnography of sexuality, gender, and class in Uganda, East Africa with particular interest in how they have been shaped by the HIV epidemic and aggressive efforts to track, measure, and control what has become the most studied modern epidemic. She is the author of Regulating Romance: Youth Love Letters, Moral Anxiety, and Interventions in Uganda’s Time of AIDS (Vanderbilt, 2015), and co-author of, The Secret: Love Marriage and HIV (Vanderbilt, 2009). She is currently writing an ethnography on black masculinity along the TransAfrica Highway based on over 20 years of research. She is also involved in an on-going research project on commercial sex and mobility in HIV hotspots in truck stops, fishing communities, and sugar growing regions in Uganda.


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