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Scholar, Activist, Teacher, Mentor

Dr. Riché J. Daniel Barnes is a sociocultural anthropologist whose teaching and research specializations are at the intersection of black feminist theories, work and family policy, and African Diasporic raced, gendered, and classed identity formation. Her work focuses ethnographically in the U.S. South, its connection to the Caribbean and the west coast of Africa, and the complexities of urban living. Through her ethnographic research on black motherhood which culminated in her award-winning book, Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community, Dr. Barnes developed "Black Strategic Mothering," a conceptual framework for understanding the complexities of Black women's survival strategies as they pertain to motherhood, work, and community, over time and space. She also considered what she calls "constrained choice," and the "neo-politics of respectability," each of which encourages us to understand Black women's "choices" and "activism" as they are dispensed for family and community survival. 

In addition to her book, Dr. Barnes has written essays and editorials for academic, community, and popular press outlets, and offers lectures and workshops for schools, communities, corporations, religious groups, and fraternal organizations. Her primary goal is always to integrate research with advocacy. Her areas of focus are work and family policy, education policy, and urban development. She has also worked in and with communities to bring scholarship out of the ivory tower and into communities for community advocacy and empowerment. 

Dr. Barnes is noted for her scholar-activism - engaging in social movement efforts including #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, the Black Girls and Women Research Group convened by the African American Policy Forum, and the Work and Family Researchers Network. She is also a committed teacher and mentor having co-founded and chaired the Association of Black Anthropologists Works in Progress Mentoring Program. Dr. Barnes is also collaborating with colleagues to develop workshops and programming to continue building networks and affect social policy to support healthy communities, families, and children.

Dr. Barnes has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation, where she held a fellowship through the Emory University Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL). Additionally, Dr. Barnes has published her research in numerous scholarly journals and collections, including Transforming Anthropology, the Annals of Anthropological Practice, The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class, African American Pioneers in Anthropology, and The Gender, Culture, and Power Reader.

She is currently working with John Jackson and Kevin Ahmad Jenkins on an edited volume exploring Contemporary Black America from a social science perspective (New York University Press, under contract). Her current research projects expand the theory of Black strategic mothering to explore Black women's responses to education reform and Black women's persistent perinatal health disparities for themselves and their children. Dr. Barnes has research affiliations with the Clayman Institute at Stanford University and the African American Policy Forum at Columbia University.

Dr. Barnes is the proud graduate of a public school education and graduated in the top ten of her class from Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta, GA. She holds a magna cum laude B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College, a M.S. in Urban Studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Emory University with a Certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Before taking her current position at Yale University as Dean of Pierson College and Affiliate Professor of Anthropology, she spent the previous ten years as Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Africana Studies at Smith College with affiliations in Anthropology, Urban Studies, the Study of Women and Gender, and the School for Social Work. She was most recently Associate Professor (with tenure) and Assistant Dean of Social Sciences at Endicott College. 

Dr. Barnes' passion is educating people of African descent, particularly women, and children about their capacity for not only survival but their permanence. Additionally, she seeks opportunities to work with and mobilize individuals and groups across various representations of difference.

She is married to her college sweetheart Darnel Barnes, and they have three children.

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