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RichÉ J. Daniel Barnes

Assistant Professor

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Riche Barnes

Dr. Barnes 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 Studies from Emory University. Her ethnographic research is focused on black women and the strategies they have developed over time for their families’ survival. Her book, Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (forthcoming Rutgers University Press 2015), is a multi-year ethnographic study investigating the gender strategies black career women employ to negotiate their position as daughters, wives and mothers. Taking issue with the work and family conflict research and policies discussed in mainstream America, Dr. Barnes explores the raced and classed differences black women encounter when balancing work and family. She has published essays on how black women navigate career and family, the role of the black middle class, contesting the image of the Strong Black Woman and the neo-politics of respectability, race, class, gender and family policy, and representations and constructions of blackness within the black community.

Dr. Barnes continues to teach, lecture and work collaboratively with activists, scholars, and policymakers to address systems of inequality that impact black women, their families, and communities. Notable projects have included ethnographies of protest post-Ferguson, Why Lean-in Feminism doesn’t resonate for gay women and women of color, the importance of Sojourner Truth in the 21st Century, and the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. Barnes is currently working on two projects that expand her research on black motherhood: Investigating the impact of race, class, and gender on health disparities and strategies for educating and enculturating black children.

Additional Smith Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, Smith College School for Social Work, Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration, Wurtele Center for Work-Life, Committee on Study Abroad, President’s Diversity Council

Research Affiliations: Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, Work, Family, and Care Research Group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, The Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, Florence, Massachusetts

Courses 2014-15:

Smith College: The Black Church in the United States, Hip Hop and the Global Politics of Race, Black Activist Autobiography, the Color-Blind Bind: Understanding Race in the 21st Century

Smith College School for Social Work: Families and Social Policy, Race and Public Policy


racial formation, race, class, gender strategies, work-family policy, black women and transnational struggle, liberation and resistance