Filomina Steady

Professor Emerita of Africana Studies

Studies of global gender systems and hierarchies; Africa and African Diaspora; social and environmental justice; international consulting.

My theoretical preference is for the critical tradition that challenges historical, ideological, and epistemological discourses that have ill-defined the Africana World and gender hierarchies. My research interests include the intersection of gender, race, and socially-constructed categories and continuing effects of the legacy of colonialism through corporate globalization and international financial institutions. My methodological approaches seek to link macro-level with micro-level socio-cultural processes from a multidisciplinary and emic (insider) perspective. My research and scholarly activities are enriched by being an activist scholar who is interested in policy-oriented and applied research. My research has benefited from work on policy analysis as a former director in the United Nations. My books, monographs, anthologies and articles include the award-winning anthology, The Black Woman Cross-Culturally which is in its third edition. Other books include Women and Collective Action in Africa and Women and the Amistad Connection. My recent book is Women and Leadership in West Africa: Mothering the Nation and Humanizing the State. My current research project is on gender dynamics in Diaspora communities in Africa.

My teaching philosophy has been expanding to meet with the challenges of post-modern and post-colonial discourses as well as the need to appreciate the phenomenological and epistemological challenges to the social sciences in general. I continue to enjoy the stimulating atmosphere in my classrooms and value the wide range of pedagogical tools that I employ for critical thinking and analysis. My pedagogical style is multidimensional and intensely interactive. I find most of the students to be bright, motivated, open-minded, and eager to learn about alternative ways of knowing, thinking, and viewing the world. The students appreciate critical analyses that show the factors contributing to the continuing injustices faced by Africana people and the marginalization of their contributions to human cultures, civilizations, and knowledge. I have taught a number of courses on Africa and the African Diaspora, African women, medical anthropology, environmental justice, urban studies, and a Wintersession course in Jamaica.

I have served and continue to serve on a number of executive boards and advisory committees such as the Association of the World Wide Study of the African Diaspora; the Feminist Press, Commission on the Anthropology of Women, Association of African Women for Research and Development. I also serve as a consultant to national and international organizations and the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies. I regularly review tenure and promotion cases for universities as well as articles and book manuscripts for publication and endorse book jackets. I regularly present papers and give keynote addresses at academic and other conferences.

I delight in networking with women groups and friends. I enjoy the theatre and world music, and I love to dance. I have traveled to 50 countries, as a former United Nations director and for conferences and vacations. My favorite countries are Sierra Leone, the country of my birth; England, where I received my doctorate from Oxford University; and the United States, where I have spent most of my working life. Other personal interests include spending quality time with my wonderful children and husband, Dr. Henry Steady, a medical doctor and suave gentleman, who supports gender equality and women’s advancement.


  • B.A., Smith College
  • M.A., Boston University
  • B.Litt., Oxford University
  • D.Phil., Oxford University