Press Releases


Date Released: 10/27/2006

Purchase College Anthropology Professor Dana-Ain Davis examines the consequences of welfare reform for black women fleeing domestic violence in her new book Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, recently published by SUNY Press.

Dr. Davis profiles 22 women, 13 of whom are black, living in a battered women’s shelter in a small city in upstate New York. She explores the contradictions between welfare reform’s supposed success in moving women off of public assistance and toward economic self-sufficiency, and the consequences welfare reform has presented for black women fleeing domestic violence. Focusing on the intersection of poverty, violence and race, she demonstrates the differential treatment that black and white women face in their entanglements with the welfare bureaucracy by linking those entanglements to the larger political economy of a small city, neoliberal social policies, and radicalized ideas about black women as workers and mothers.

Dana-Ain Davis, MPH Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at
Purchase College, SUNY and Coordinator of the Global Black Studies Program. She received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Davis conducts research in the United States and in Namibia, primarily in the area of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice, welfare reform policy and activism. In addition to her current book, she has written several articles on the impact of welfare including: “Manufacturing Mammies: The Burdens of Service Work and Welfare Reform Among Battered Black Women,” and “What Did You Do Today: Notes From a Politically Engaged Anthropologist.”

She is an active participant in the Association of Feminist Anthropologists, the Association of Black Anthropologists and the Society for the Anthropology of North America. In addition to her academic endeavors, Dr. Davis is also the consulting executive director of the Adco Foundation, a grant making foundation that supports community activism in New York City. She also serves on the board of the New York Foundation.