Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Yolanda Denise Covington-Ward is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, Global Studies Center, African Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Programs at the University of Pittsburgh.
Trained as a qualitative cultural anthropologist (University of Michigan), her research interests converge on examining how the ways we use our bodies in social interactions with others can shape our worldview, individual and group identities, and even our health.
Her current research examines the adjustment and acculturation experiences of Liberian immigrants in Pittsburgh and the larger United States, and their effects on group identity formation and self-perceived health. Her previous work (based on over fifteen months of ethnographic and archival research) looked at social relationships, religion, and group identity in the Democratic republic of Congo, and how it is all mediated by and through physical bodies. Her book manuscript based on this work, Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in the Congo, is currently under contract with Duke University Press. She is also a former Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, and has also published in journals such as Africa Today, Transforming Anthropology, and the Liberian Studies Journal.
Her project funded through the Small grant competition at the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis examines the entry, experiences, and occupational mobility of African immigrants from a variety of countries currently working in low-wage direct care health occupations in the Pittsburgh area.