Sociology Faculty - Dr. Michelle Jacobs

Assistant Professor of Sociology

My research explores the impacts of racial meanings on identities and the responses of individuals and collectivities to racial projects that perpetuate inequality and injustice. To date, I have investigated these processes within urban American Indian communities. Specifically, I use ethnographic methods to understand the ways in which American Indian people negotiate their invisibility within a society that disassociates with its colonial past, and consequently, perpetuates racial myths about North America's indigenous peoples. I explore the impact of controlling images on Native identities and the resistance strategies utilized by contemporary urban Indians as they assert racial and ethnic identities that are frequently discounted and/or ignored.

In a recent publication, I examine the identities of white activists involved in antiracism work (Critical Sociology 2012). My interest in white antiracism was piqued by my involvement in a multiracial social movement organization devoted to the elimination of "Chief Wahoo," the red-faced, feather-adorned "Indian" mascot of Cleveland's Major League Baseball franchise. My research in this area looks at the intersections of race, identity, and biography to discover the processes that contribute to strong antiracist ethics among members of racially privileged groups.


  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Kent State University, 2012 
  • M.A. in Sociology, Kent State University, 2007
  • B.A. in Anthropology, University of Akron, 2002 

Teaching Areas

  • Social Inequalities 
  • Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Qualitative Methods

Research Areas

  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Identity
  • Social Inequalities
  • Urban Sociology
  • Social Movements 

Recent Publications

  • "Challenges of Multiracial Antiracist Activism: Racial Consciousness and Chief Wahoo." Critical Sociology, published online November 2011 (with Tiffany Taylor).


Contact Dr. Michelle Jacobs

Office: Redcay Hall 122
Phone: (518) 564-3004