hero image
Whitney  Battle-Baptiste - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Whitney Battle-Baptiste

Professor of Anthropology / Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Whitney Battle-Baptiste's research focuses on how the intersection of race, gender, class and sexuality look through an archaeological lens.

Expertise (6)

Black Feminist Theory

Race, Labor and Social Justice

Black Archeology

W.E.B. Du Bois

Heritage Studies

Black Feminist Archeology


A historical archaeologist who focuses on the historical intersection of race, class and gender in shaping cultural landscapes in the African diaspora. Whitney Battle-Baptiste has appeared in print, electronic and digital media to discuss a wide range of topics including the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the history of W.E.B. Du Bois.

Her theoretical interests include Black feminist theory, African American material and expressive culture, and critical heritage studies. Her work spans a variety of historic sites in the Northern and Southern United States, including the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee; Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia; the Abiel Smith School in Boston, Massachusetts; and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Her latest research is a community-based archaeology project at the Millars Plantation site on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.

Battle-Baptiste is the current president of the American Anthropological Association.

Social Media






W. E. B. Du Bois's Data Portraits: A Conversation with Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert Whitney Battle-Baptiste talks about issues at Pelham Elementary Why Anthropology? Whitney Battle-Baptiste 11 30 2017


Education (3)

University of Texas: Ph.D., Anthropology

The College of William & Mary: M.A., History

Virginia State University: B.A., History & Education

Select Recent Media Coverage (4)

Why race matters in murder cases

MassLive  online


Whitney Battle-Baptiste comments in an article about differing views of Black and white women accused of killing their children. Battle-Baptiste says depictions of a Black woman in Massachusetts convicted of killing her children in 2018, "perpetuate the idea of Black people, male or female being criminals."

view more

Beneath an Old Fireplace, Evidence of the Spirituality of the Enslaved

Atlas Obscura  online


Whitney Battle-Baptiste, an anthropologist at the University of Massachusetts, says that the placement of these artifacts is extremely important. In order for the enslaved to be able to practice their spiritual traditions, they had to hide their tools from Christian enslavers. “They weren’t going to build a little temple over here or put a bunch of rocks and pots where they wanted to because it wouldn’t go over on a plantation being controlled by a Christian,” she says.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Beyond the textbooks: A closer look at Martin Luther King Jr.

WWLP  tv


According to Professor Battle-Baptiste, many don’t realize in addition to civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist for social justice and economic equality.

Whitney Battle-Baptiste on television

view more

Tribute to Du Bois’ 150th birthday kicks off with new exhibit and youth involvement

The Berkshire Edge  


Whitney Battle-Baptiste, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst and a Du Bois scholar, told attendees that, during the week of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, “it’s important that we understand Du Bois’ role as kind of an architect of the civil rights movement.”

view more

Select Publications (2)

W. E. B. Du Bois's Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (Book)

Princeton Architectural Press

Whitney Battle-Baptiste (Editor), Britt Rusert (Editor)


Famed sociologist, writer, and Black rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois fundamentally changed the representation of Black Americans with his exhibition of data visualizations at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Beautiful in design and powerful in content, these data portraits make visible a wide spectrum of African American culture, from advances in education to the lingering effects of slavery.

view more

Contexts of Resistance in African American Wester Massachusetts: A View from the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, MA

Historical Archaeology

Paynter, R. and W. Battle-Baptiste

Thematic Issue, The Connecticut River Valley: Five Centuries of Material Change

view more