Michele Tracy Berger
Professor of Religious Studies; Director, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities
Michele Tracy Berger is the Eric and Jane Nord Family Professor and director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. She is the author of many books, including Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS. She is a leading scholar in applying intersectional approaches to studying areas of inequality. This work spans the fields of public health, political science, sociology and women’s and gender studies.
She earned a graduate certificate in women’s studies and a PhD in political science from University of Michigan. Her teaching and research interests include multiracial feminisms, racial and gender health disparities, qualitative methods, contemplative practices, HIV/AIDS activism, the health and wellness practices of African American women and girls.
Her work on modern contemplative practices takes many forms. She has conducted research evaluating yoga interventions with at-risk elementary and middle school children in K-12 public schools. This work makes connections between vulnerable communities and their opportunities and impediments to experience health, resiliency, and well-being. She is also interested in the use of yoga and other contemplative practices by women of color. In much of this work, she argues that feminist methodological questions bring about power, social location, intersectionality, and critical theory are vitally important to intervene in traditional biomedical or psychological frames of health.
Dr. Berger’s books include Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS (Princeton University Press, 2004), the co-edited collections Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (Altamira Press, 2003) and The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class and Gender (University of North Carolina Press, 2010) and the co-authored Transforming Scholarship: Why Women’s and Gender Studies Students Are Changing Themselves and the World (Routledge 2011, 2014, 2021).
She is the author, most recently, of Black Women’s Health: Paths to Wellness for Mothers and Daughters (New York University Press, 2022), the first monograph to focus on the role of southern African American mothers and their adolescent daughters in shaping health practices.
She is a sought-after public speaker and commentator. Her public scholarship has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Ms. Magazine, The Feminist Wire and other media outlets. She is currently co-chair of the Ms. Scholars Board.