Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2005
Office: CMU 127/129

ACLS/Mellon Scholars & Society Fellow in Residence at NAAM for the 2019-20 Academic Year (off campus all year)

Ralina L. Joseph, Professor of Communication and adjunct Professor of American Ethnic Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego and B. A. in American Civilization from Brown University.

Cover of Transcending BlacknessDr. Joseph is the founding and acting director of the University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity.  She is a scholar, teacher, and facilitator of race and communication.

Her first book, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial (Duke University Press, 2012), critiques anti-Black racism in mixed-race African American representations in the decade leading up to Obama’s 2008 election. Listen to the interview about Transcending Blackness on Seattle’s NPR affiliate, KUOW.

Her second book, Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media Culture, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity (NYU Press, 2018), is the 2019 winner of the International Communication Association’s Outstanding Book of the Year Award. Postracial Resistance examines how African American women negotiate the minefield of “postracial racism.” Listen to an interview here.

Dr. Joseph is currently writing two new books. The first, Generation Mixed Goes to School: Fostering Mixed-Race Spaces in School Communities, (with Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, under contract with Teachers College Press), centers the perspectives of multiracial children in the creation of anti-racist schools. The second, Interrupting Privilege: The Promises and Perils of Talking Race and Fighting Racism, provides both the theoretical framework and a nuts-and-bolts guidebook to fighting back against everyday, interpersonal inequalities. You can read about Interrupting Privilege here.

In addition, her work has appeared in The International Journal of Communication; Critical Studies in Media Communication; Communication Studies; The Black Scholar; and Communication, Culture, and Critique, and she has chapters in Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers; Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities; and Claiming a Seat at the Table: Feminism, Underserved Women of Color, Voice, and Resistance.

She is a recipient of awards and fellowships from ACLS/Mellon, the Ford Foundation, Woodrow Wilson/Mellon, the University of California, the American Association of University Women and the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. At the UW she has received a Faculty Mentorship award from the Ethnic Cultural Center, an Undergraduate Research Mentor award, and a Woman of Courage Award from the Women’s Center.

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Selected Articles:

Joseph, Ralina L. “What’s the Difference with ‘Difference’?: Equity, Communication, and the Politics of Difference.” International Journal of Communication. Vol 11, 2017, pp. 3306-3326.

Ralina L. Joseph. “Reading Strategically Ambiguous Shonda Rhimes: Respectability Politics of a Black Woman Showrunner.” Special Issue, “African American Representation and the Politics of Respectability.”  Eds. Jane Rhodes and Ralina L. Joseph.  SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society.  Vol 18, No. 4, Fall 2016.



Communication Difference, and Power (COM/AES/GWSS 289): Large lecture course intro course examining communication, difference and power in the 21st century U.S.

Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in the Media (COM/AES/GWSS 389): Survey course examining the cultural forces and implications of race, gender, and sexuality in the media.

Representing Beyond the Binaries: Mixing Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media (COM/AES 490/GWSS 486): Course examining the realities and ramifications of mixed-race representations in mass media and the broader social and political dynamics in U.S. culture.

Black Cultural Studies (COM/AES/GWSS 489): Course examining historical, social, political, legal, and media discourses about Blackness in U.S. culture.


Black Cultural Studies (COM 563): Course examining historical, social, political, legal, and media discourses about Blackness in U.S. culture.

Reading Race in Cultural Studies Theories and Methods (COM 597): Methods course using central analytic of race in cultural studies.

Visual Culture Theories and Methods (COM 597): Methods course focusing on strategies of reading visual cultural representations.