College of Arts & Sciences

the department of African American Studies

Joan Weston, Ph.D.

Joan WestonContact
306 Lindley
Telephone: (740) 593-1309

Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara
B.S. University of Alabama


Although trained as a sociologist, her fields of inquiry are interdisciplinary and include cultural sociology, critical race studies, gender studies and the globalization of everyday social life. Her research focuses on family narratives of place, home, insecurity, and the ordinary everyday interactions of African American children and their parents. She was co-principal investigator on the African American Presence in the Ohio River Valley Oral History Project in which she organized and conducted workshops on oral history methodology and recorded numerous interviews with African Americans living in rural areas and small towns cross the Ohio River Valley.

Research and Special Interest 
Current scholarship focuses on Walmart, democratization, and rural consumer culture in the global new South. This research examines black resistance to state sanctioned racial oppression and the impact of this resistance on the local retail industry in small towns in the South, especially the Alabama Black Belt. The daughter of landless tenant farmers who moved to Chicago in the Post-WWII area, Dr. Weston continues to travel back to the family plantation quarter each summer for the 4th of July homecoming celebration. "Visualizing the Hipster: Photoblogs and Grassroots Cultural Production in the Midwest" (2007), provides an ethnographic account of this annual celebration that takes place on Rogers Plantation. "The South Rises Yet Again: Wal-Mart and the Post-Civil Rights Consumer Empowerment Movement" (2009) examines the relationship between the emergence of Walmart in the South and consumer activism in small towns following the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Courses Taught
AAS 106 Introduction to African American Studies
AAS 345 Black Women and the American Experience 
AAS 346 Black Men and Masculinity
AAS 380 Community Development and the African American Experience
AAS 440 Black Childhood in the United States 
AAS 540 Black Childhood in the United States 
AAS 482 Race, Class, Gender and the African American Family