Dána-Ain Davis

Dr. Dána-Ain Davis

My Biography

Dr. Dána-Ain Davis has been selected as the recipient for the 2023 Gender Equity Award. This award recognizes individuals whose service to the discipline demonstrates the courage to bring to light and investigate practices in anthropology that are potentially sexist and discriminatory based on gender presentation.

Dána-Ain Davis is Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and on the faculty of the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology. She is the director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center.

In the last decade, Davis has focused her attention on reproduction, race, and technologies that assist in reproduction. She has written several articles addressing issues of reproduction and racism including, “Obstetric Racism: The Racial Politics of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birthing,” (2019); “Trump, Race, and Reproduction in the Afterlife of Slavery” (2019); “Feminist Politics, Racialized Imagery, and Social Control: Reproductive Injustice in the Age of Obama” with Beth E. Richie and LaTosha Traylor (2017); “The Bone Collectors” (2016); and, “The Politics of Reproduction: The Troubling Case of Nadya Suleman” (2009). She is the author of Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (NYU Press 2019). The book received the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology; The Senior Book Prize from the Association of Feminist Anthropology. In addition, Reproductive Injustice was named a Finalist for the 2020 PROSE Award in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology category, given by the Association of American Publisher and received an Honorable mention by The Victor Turner Ethnographic Writing Award Committee of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.

​In Reproductive Injustice, Davis examines medical racism in the lives of professional Black women who have given birth prematurely. The book shows that race confounds the perception that class is the root of adverse birth outcomes and lifts up the role that birth workers—midwives, doulas, and birth advocates—play in addressing Black women’s birth outcomes.

Davis was nominated and served as the Association of Marquette University Women Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University in Fall 2021. She is recipient of the Brocher Foundation Residency Fellowship in Switzerland. Davis is also doula and co-founded the Art of Childbirth with doula/midwife Nubia Earth-Martin, offering free birth education workshops that incorporate artistic expressions in Yonkers, New York.

Davis has been engaged in social justice, particularly reproductive justice and racial justice for over 30 years. She has worked with a number of national reproductive justice organizations and initiatives, including; the New York City Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice initiative, Civil Liberties Public Policy (Amherst, MA); National Institute for Reproductive Health; National Network of Abortion Funds, and most recently served on the New York State Governor’s Task Force on Maternal currently serves as an advisor to Birthing Cultural Rigor, a quality improvement and implementation science firm that formed as a living act of resistance against knowledge production and dissemination that reproduced racist and misogynistic misconceptions about Blackness, Black womanhood, and Black birthing people.

In addition to Reproductive Injustice, she is the author, co-author, or co-editor of four books including: Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place (2006); Black Genders and Sexualities with Shaka McGlotten (2012); Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America with Christa Craven (2013); Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges and Possibilities with Christa Craven (First Edition 2016; Second Edition 2022).