Whitney Battle-Baptiste, associate professor of anthropology, and Demetria Shabazz, assistant professor of communication, have been recognized as Women Who Lead by Example in Massachusetts by UnityFirst.com, a Springfield-based distributor of diversity-related e-news to corporations and diverse communities.
Battle-Baptiste, Shabazz and other honorees from business, education, arts, government and other fields are featured in a special issue released March 28.
According to Janine Fondon, president and CEO of UnityFirst.com, this year’s honorees “represent the best of women’s leadership in corporations, communities, education, arts, business, government and all areas of life and work across the Commonwealth ... We want to share their stories to inspire others.”
Battle-Baptiste, who joined the faculty in 2007, also serves as the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center. A historical archaeologist who focuses on the intersection of race, class and gender in the shaping of cultural landscapes across the African diaspora, Battle-Baptiste’s theoretical interests include black feminist theory, African-American material and expressive culture and critical heritage studies. Her work includes historic sites as varied as the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tenn., Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Va., the Abiel Smith School in Boston, the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Mass. and the Millars Plantation on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.
A member of the faculty since 2007, Shabazz’s research interests include the role of media in history as constitutive of African, African-American and other communities of culture. She is also interested in contemporary media and filmic production practices, codes and conventions, and public policy and regulation of the media from the standpoint of the socially and economically challenged. Her work emphasizes the use of media, media production and other communication practices to help foster civic engagement. She taught previously at Oklahoma State University, the University of Alabama, Mississippi State University and Northeastern University. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication at the University of Alabama.