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Riche J. Daniel Barnes, Ph.D., C'95, Explores the Raced and Classed Differences Black Women Encounter When Balancing Work and Family

March 2016

Riche BarnesTaking issue with the work and family conflict research and policies discussed in mainstream America, Spelman alumna Riche Daniel Barnes, C'95, cultural anthropologist in the Department of Africana Studies at Smith College, explores the raced and classed differences Black women encounter when balancing work and family.

Her qualitative ethnographic research is focused on Black women and the strategies they have developed over time for family and community survival. Her book, "Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community" (Rutgers University Press 2016), explores the raced and classed differences Black women encounter when balancing work and family. She has lectured and published widely on race, class, gender and family policy, as well as representations and constructions of blackness within and across African descended communities. Her research has been featured on PBS, WWLP-News 22, The Root, Deutsche Welle, and was considered for an NAACP Image Award.​​

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. Additionally, 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.

She 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 received her bachelor of arts in political science from Spelman College, her master of science 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.

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