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Assata Zerai

Assata Zerai

University of Illinois


Professor Assata Zerai currently holds positions as Director of the Center for African Studies, Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Serving as faculty in Sociology at Illinois since 2002, Zerai’s research frameworks (theory and methodology) build from Black feminist thought, intersectionality, and African and Africana feminisms, and her interests have included maternal and child health, health activism, and safe water and sanitation in Africa and the African Diaspora, and in U.S. populations, as well as diversity and inclusiveness in U.S. Protestant congregations, and making the work of indigenous and marginalized scholars and activists more accessible. Dr. Zerai’s Hypermasculinity and State Violence in Zimbabwe: An Africana Feminist Analysis of Maternal and Child Health were published by Africa World Press (2014). She has just completed Intersectionality in Intentional Communities: The Struggle for Inclusivity in Multicultural U.S. Protestant Congregations (in press 2016, Lexington Books). She is author of Dehumanizing Discourse, Law and Policy in America: A Crack Mother’s Nightmare (Ash gate 2002) and her fourth book, Safe Water, Sanitation and Early Childhood Malnutrition in East Africa: An Africana Feminist Analysis of the lives of Women and Children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, is currently under contract with Rowman and Littlefield.

Research Interest

Multilevel analyses of Maternal and Child Health; National and Cross Cultural Health Inequality; Adaptations of Safe Water and Sanitation Technologies; Sociology of Religion; Multiculturalism and Christianity; Race, Class and Gender analyses; Africana Feminist Methods; Black Feminist Thought; Gender Equity and Development Effectiveness; Health Activism