Jennifer Richardson

Photo of Jennifer Richardson
Jennifer Richardson
Associate Professor of IIAS
(269) 387-2662
1017 Moore Hall, Mail Stop 5494
Mailing address: 
Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5494 USA
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Loyola University, Chicago, 2011
Teaching interests: 
  • Black Feminist Thought
  • Race & Identity in Media
  • Beyoncé: Critical Feminist Perspectives and the Politics of 'Black Womanhood'
Research interests: 
  • Black Feminisms
  • Media representations of beauty and its sociopolitical impact on black women
  • Diversity Inclusion and Equity in Higher Education

Dr. Jennifer Richardson is an associate professor in the Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies at Western Michigan University.  As a Black Feminist sociologist, her scholarship investigates identity and the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Particularly interested in exploring intergenerational healing circles, in the tradition of African ring shouts, as both pedagogical and methodological approaches, Dr. Richardson' s work focuses on bringing attention to Africana women and collective healing as a socio-political path to the recovery of self. Her research and teaching also brings light to the multidimensional ways in which Africana women negotiate the intersections of popular media, dominant discourses of beauty, and constructions of identity. In the Black feminist tradition, Dr. Richardson’s scholarship provides insight into old and new processes of looking and attempts to provide space for women of color to counter the enslaving seduction of media images that can negatively impact identity and self-definition.  Prior to joining faculty at WMU, Dr. Richardson taught at The University of Illinois at Chicago, where she developed a new course called, “Beyoncé: Critical Feminist Perspectives and The Politics of ‘Black Womanhood’.” Dr. Richardson is currently working on a new book project focused on the experiences of Black women faculty in higher education.

Recent publications:

Richardson, Jennifer L. (2023). The Other Side of Change: Black Feminist Methodologies Toward Healing, in Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 12 (2): 5-28. University of California Press: Oakland, CA.  

Perryman-Clark, Staci, Konate, Mariam, and Richardson, Jennifer. (2022). “A Time to Dream: Black Women's Exodus from White Feminist Spaces, Present Tense, A Journal of Rhetoric in Society, NCTE/CCCC Cross-Caucus Present Tense “Diversity is not an End Game: BIPOC Futures in the Academy,” eds. Cedillo, Christina V., Ore, Ersula J,. and Wieser, Kimberly Gail, 9.2

Richardson, Jennifer L. (2018) “Healing Circles as Black Feminist Pedagogical Interventions” in Black Women’s Pedagogies: Resistance, Transformation & Healing Within and Beyond the Higher Education Classroom. Ed. Olivia Perlow. Palgrave MacMillan: New York and London. 


Lecturer Gets Fingers Sticky With Lemonade, Chicago Maroon, 2016 

The 312: Beyoncé and feminism collide in UIC class, Chicago Sun-Times, 2016

Beyoncé Class Being Taught at UIC, Fox News Chicago, 2015 

Who Runs The Classroom? Beyoncé, WTTW Chicago Tonight, 2015  

Presentations and Invited Lectures:

“A Woman’s Voice: Then and Now? In conversation with Africa, Imagined: Reflections on Modern and Contemporary Art,” Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, March 2022 (panelist) 

“Tenure and Promotion of BIPOC Faculty,” Western Michigan University, Office of Faculty Development, March 2021 (moderator) 

“Fatherlessness and Its Influence on How African American College-Aged Women Perceive Their Dating Experiences,” Annual Meeting and Conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2021 (moderator) 

“Student Centered Anti-Racist Teaching,” Western Michigan University, Office of Faculty Development, October 2020 (co- presenter) 

“The Identity Binary: Women Professors of Color Expressing Sexual Agency,” Association for Women in Psychology Conference, Austin, TX 2020 (co-presenter)

“Navigating Academic Spaces While Black,” Annual Black Leadership Summit, Black Student Union, WMU, March 2019 (lecture)

“Civic Engagement and Popular Culture: Creating Representations To Increase Civic Engagement In The Black Community,“ Triadic Connections Incorporated, (panel) April 2019 

“Black Women’s Liberatory Pedagogies: Resistance, Transformation & Healing,” National Women’s Studies Association, Atlanta, GA 2018 (co-presenter) 

“Teaching White Privilege,” Sociologists for Women in Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA 2017 (panelist) 

“Black and Anti Racist Feminists Praxes and Pedagogies in the Movements for Black Lives,” National Women’s Studies Association, Baltimore, MD 2017 (panelist). 

“Conjured Brews: Beyoncé, Lemonade, and Black Feminist Visions of Healing,” The University of Michigan, September 2016 (lecture)