Dr. Assata Zerai Ph.D.

Section 1

Content

Associate Professor of Sociology
Associate Professor of Center for African Studies
Center for Global Studies

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Contact Information

Office Hours

  • 11:15am-12:15pm Thursdays

Biography

Assata Zerai is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University ofIllinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a core faculty member in the Center forAfrican Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology in 1993 from theUniversity of Chicago. Her scholarship focuses on the ways that race, class andgender as interlocking spheres are reflected in maternal and child health,evangelical religions settings and anti-war activism. Her research expertiseincludes (1) development and testing Africana Feminist methodologies for socialanalysis and social organizing. She has used insights from this research tostudy evangelicalism, anti-war activism, and maternal substance use in theU.S., maternal and child health in sub Saharan Africa, and a number of othersites, including work she has proposed to understand ways to incorporate thesafe water and sanitation technologies without reproducing inequality in thesites under study. (2) A second line of scholarship focuses on the ways thatrace, class and gender as interlocking spheres are reflected in maternal andchild health. She has conducted multilevel analyses of maternal substance useand child health in the U.S., and maternal and child health in the sub-SaharanAfrica. (3) She has expertise in U.S. women of color, impoverished women in theU.S. and illicit substance use. She has published several manuscripts on thistopic and has worked with the Drug Policy Alliance, as well as holding aResearch Fellowship at NDRI in NYC where she focused on illicit substance useresearch.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Race/Class/Gender; Maternal and Child Health; Evangelicalism; Anti-War Activism

Research Description

  • Dr. Zerai's scholarship focuses on the ways that race, class and gender asinterlocking spheres are reflected in maternal and child health, evangelicalreligions settings and anti-war activism. Her research expertise includes (1)development and testing Africana Feminist methodologies for social analysis andsocial organizing. She has used insights from this research to studyevangelicalism, anti-war activism, and maternal substance use in the U.S.,maternal and child health in sub Saharan Africa, and a number of other sites,including work she has proposed to understand ways to incorporate the safewater and sanitation technologies without reproducing inequality in the sitesunder study. (2) A second line of scholarship focuses on the ways that race,class and gender as interlocking spheres are reflected in maternal and childhealth. She has conducted multilevel analyses of maternal substance use andchild health in the U.S., and maternal and child health in the sub-SaharanAfrica. (3) She has expertise in U.S. women of color, impoverished women in theU.S. and illicit substance use. She has published several manuscripts on thistopic and has worked with the Drug Policy Alliance, as well as holding aResearch Fellowship at NDRI in NYC where she focused on illicit substance useresearch.

Education

  • University of Chicago Ph.D. 1993

Courses

  • SOC 496/596 Race, Class and Gender
  • SOC 496/596 Maternal and Child Health in Southern Africa
  • SOC 496/596 Health Inequality
  • SOC 480/583 Qualitative Research

Publications

Books

  • Hypermasculinity, State Violence and Family Well-Being in Zimbabwe: An Africana Feminist Analysis of Maternal and Child Health. . . Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2014.
  • Zerai, Assata, and Rae Banks. Dehumanizing Discourse, Law and Policy in America: A Crack Mother’s Nightmare. . London: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2002.

Journal Articles

  • "An Assessment of Afro-Centricism, Color-Blind Ideology, and Intersectionality: Three Models of Internal Christian Congregational Cohesion." Race, Gender and Class (2011):
  • "“Everyone Deserves Services No Matter What”: Defining Success in Harm Reduction Based Substance Abuse Treatment." Substance Use & Misuse (2010):
  • Zerai, Assata. "A black feminist critique of American religious anti-war (dis)engagements ." Works and Days 57/58 29.1 & 2 (2010):
  • "To be Politically Relevant and Tolerant: A Comparative Analysis of Christian Evangelical Internal Discussions of the 2008 Presidential Election." Race, Gender and Class (2010):
  • Zerai, Assata, and Salime Zakia. "A Black Feminist Analysis of Responses to War, Racism, and Repression." Critical Sociology 32.2 -3 (2006): 503-523.
  • Zerai, Assata, and Horace Campbell. "The Black Radical Congress and Black Feminist Organizing." Socialism and Democracy 19.2 (2005): 147-156.
  • Zerai, Assata, and Rae Banks. "African-American Mothers and Substance Abuse: Punishment over Treatment?." Journal of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States 30.3 (2002): 26-29.
  • Zerai, Assata. "Models for Unity Between Scholarship and Grassroots Activism." Critical Sociology 28.1-2 (2002): 201-216.

Research Interests

  • Race, Class, Gender
  • Transnational Studies
  • Research Methods
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Population, Health, and Life Course
  • State, Law, and Society