Main Menu Summer 2013

Ruth Brown

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, 2005
  • M.A., Political Science & Women's Studies Certificate, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, 2000
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1998

Key Professional Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Educational Policy Studies & Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2007-present
  • PostDoctoral Fellow, Gender and Women's Studies Program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2006-2007
  • PostDoctoral Fellow, African American Studies and Research Program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2005-2006

Activities & Honors

  • Member, American Political Science Association, -present
  • Member, Midwest Political Science Association, -present
  • Member, National Conference of Black Political Scientists Association, -present
  • Member, National Women's Studies Association, -present
  • Member, AERA, 2007-present
  • Award for Outstanding Faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies, UIUC, , 2012-2013
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, UIUC Department of Gender and Women's Studies,, 2010
  • Women of Color Leadership Project Participant, National Women's Studies Association, 2007
  • Award for Excellence in Arts-Based Research, Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop on Narrative Theory and Methods, University of Michigan, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, 2005
  • Visiting Researcher, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University, 2003-2005

Research Statement

Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown is an assistant professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Her research documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black girls’ lived experiences as it intersects with cultural constructions of Black girlhood. Her first book, Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward A Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy counters the invisibility of Black girls and the marginalization of Black girlhood in academic literature. Black Girlhood Celebration demonstrated how liberal assumptive frameworks of culture, society, and youth programming have contradictory implications for the type and quality of value assigned to Black girls’ lives. Her second book, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood, is an ethnographic account of the creative processes Black girls rely on to make intelligible the ways power, creativity, spirituality, memory, and performativity structure meanings of belonging. This book draws directly from her experiences in SOLHOT. SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths), founded in 2006 by Ruth Nicole Brown, is a commitment by Brown in collaboration with the Champaign community to organizing a “space” dedicated to the celebration of Black girlhood in all of its complexity. As a critical method of civic engagement, SOLHOT is a creative cutting-edge application of Dr. Brown’s studied and research interventions in Black Girls’ Studies and Hip Hop Feminism.


  • Principal Investigator, Hardie Collaborative Stipend: Black Girlhood Celebration: Lessons from SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths)!, Bureau of Educational Research, 2007-2008

Select Publications

  • Brown, R. (2008). Black Girlhood Celebration: A Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy. Peter Lang.
  • Brown, R., Desipio, L. (2007). Dianne Pinderhughes: A career dedicated to understanding the racial dynamics of American politics and to serving as an agent of change. Political Science & Politics, 203-238.
  • Brown, R. (2007). Persephone's triumph: Reflections of a young black woman becoming a real political scientist. Qualitative Inquiry, 13(5), 650-659.
  • Brown, R. (2007). Remembering Maleesa: Theorizing black girl politics and the politicizing of socialization. National Political Science Review, 11, 121-136.
  • Brown, R. (2006). Mentoring on the borderlands: Creating empowering connections between adolescent girls and young women volunteers. Human Architecture. Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, IV, 105-122.

In The News

Professor Ruth Nicole Brown provides research expertise at White House conference

Apr. 28, 2014

Professor Ruth Nicole Brown, an expert in gender and women’s studies, will share her thoughts with educators, policy-makers, business leaders, media experts, and advocates at the April 28 White House Research Conference on Girls, hosted by the White House Council on Women and Girls. The assistant professor in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership is part of a select group of people at the conference focusing on how to make research on girls more available and accessible to everyone. Read more...

Hear our Truths cover

'Hear our Truths' uncovers the power of arts for African-American girls and community

Nov. 15, 2013

In her latest book, Ruth Nicole Brown, assistant professor in Educational Policy Studies and Gender and Women's Studies, documents her experiences with the organization Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT) and its efforts to provide black girls and women a space for creative performance and expression. Read more...