Dean Moffitt interviewed about media and Black hair and body politics

Published: Mar 7, 2024

A person with long black hair wearing a purple blouse stands outside in front of a colorful flower bed. black hair
Kimberly Moffitt, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.(Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Kimberly R. Moffitt, dean of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, speaks about the inspiration for and journey of her career in an interview with, which offers research-based data on graduate programs in media and communication studies nationwide along with insights from leaders in the field.

Moffitt shares that one of the key inspirations for her work in media and communication studies is her children. Her research and discourse on colorism, her Black hair syllabus website, and her criticism of Disney’s programming have come from observing how her children and other children of color are perceived and talked about in media. She also analyzes the major challenges with feminism and her identity as a womanist.

“I do not consider myself a feminist. I do embrace and consider myself a womanist, as Audre Lorde discusses it, however. I believe in seeing the uplift of African Americans in this nation,” says Moffitt. “I think it takes all of us to make that happen, and I am not really interested in privileging or prioritizing my own existence as a Black woman over that of a Black man.”

Leadership and communication

The scholarship that fueled Moffitt’s career paved a path to leadership as a dean during a worldwide pandemic and global calls for social justice. Moffitt credits her skills and knowledge of media and communication in helping her navigate these challenges, with grace and patience.

“The beauty of being in a discipline like communication is that we have space to engage a set of theoretical frameworks and concepts that other disciplines cannot,” says Moffitt. “Some of that is because we are a much younger discipline than most, but it is also because we are dealing with a number of contemporary issues that allow us to speak back to society about things as they are currently going on.”

Learn more about Dean Moffitt’s additional work with the Mellon Foundation-funded Global Asias Initiative. 

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