Michelle Stephens is the founding and executive director of Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice and a professor of English and Latino and Caribbean studies.
Stephens is the co-lead, along with Anna Branch, Rutgers’ senior vice president of equity and a professor of sociology, of a research project titled Black Bodies, Black Health, which is supported by a $725,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through seed grants, workshops, conferences, and both scholarly and public writing, Black Bodies, Black Health incentivizes humanists, social scientists, and biomedical researchers to engage in interdisciplinary work to explore and unpack structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes.
Prior to her current role, Stephens was dean of the humanities at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences from 2017–2020. She graduated from Yale University with a PhD degree in American studies and is the author of Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914 to 1962 (Duke University Press, 2005) and Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis, and The Black Male Performer (Duke University Press, 2014). She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on the intersection of race and psychoanalysis and co-edited recent collections on archipelagic studies.
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