UIC historian among top women in higher education

Barbara Ransby

Barbara Ransby, distinguished professor of African American studies, gender and women’s Studies, and history, and director of the Social Justice Initiative at UIC.

University of Illinois at Chicago distinguished professor Barbara Ransby has been named among the top 25 women in higher education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Ransby, who has faculty appointments in African American studies, gender and women’s studies, and history, joins a select group of scholars and administrators honored for their “significant contributions to higher education and beyond.”

Ransby, a historian, writer and longtime political activist, also serves as director of the Social Justice Initiative at UIC, a campuswide program that aims to build on socially conscious research and interests across different disciplines, improve connections with community partners, and serve students interested in social justice work.

She has published widely in scholarly and popular publications and is a frequent guest lecturer internationally. Her books include an award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, titled “Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision,” and “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson.”

In November Ransby began a two-year term as president of the National Women’s Studies Association, which supports the production and dissemination of knowledge about women and gender through teaching, learning, research and service in academic and other settings.

She serves on the editorial board of several academic journals and is editor-in-chief of SOULS, a critical journal of black politics, culture and society.

Ransby, who has been at UIC since 1996, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University and master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Michigan, where she was a Mellon Fellow.