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About Whitney Battle-Baptiste

I am a Professor of Anthropology at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My BA in History & Secondary Education is from Virginia State University, and my MA in History is from The College of William and Mary., I hold a Ph.D. in Anthropology and am a proud graduate of the African Diaspora Program in Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin. My research focuses on the connections of race, gender, class, and sexuality, during slavery and post-emancipation. My work has included interpreting captive African domestic spaces at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee; School segregation in 19th century Boston; the Millars Plantation site in the Bahamas, and the Burghardt family homestead, also known as the W.E.B Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I am currently the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, which was established to engage audiences in discussions and scholarship of W. E. B. Du Bois and related archival collections. The Du Bois Center also raises awareness and promotes scholarship around issues involving race, labor, and social injustice throughout the world. I consider myself both a scholar and activist. My research primarily focuses on community-based archaeology, which allows me to see the classroom as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. In other words, teaching about "a past that is not past." My publications include the book, Black Feminist Archaeology (2011)and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America, co-edited with Britt Russert (2019). My most recent work is to navigate the ways that archaeological theory and materiality impacts and informs the ways we understand systemic racism in the U. S. and abroad.


Present Director, University of Massachusetts Amherst W.E.B. Du Bois Center
Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Anthropology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Steering Committee, University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage & Society

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Five College Curriculum Support for African Studies Grant
  • Andrew W. Mellon Award for W. E. B. Du Bois Center @ UMass


  • Gender & Slavery in the Americas
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Race and the American Museum
  • Gender in Hip-Hop Culture
  • The Anthropology of Slavery


1998 - 2004 PhD, University of Texas Austin
1994 - 2001 MA, William & Mary
1989 - 1994 BA, Virginia State University ‐ History

Contact Information

211 Machmer
240 Hicks Way
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: 413-577-0932
Fax: 545-9494

Articles (2)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (5)

Presentations (16)