Michele Tracy Berger
IN THE PRESS
"Transforming Scholarship is a book that every women’s and gender studies major should read. Full of practical advice for how to pursue a meaningful and feminist career, the book also provides students with a wide range of real-life examples of how people are using their women’s and gender studies degrees after graduation."
"Michele Tracy Berger offers one of the first studies of the development of critical consciousness and political participation of women of color who are HIV positive. ...Her accessible writing style combined with the rich analytic framework contribute to the value of Workable Sisterhood for multiple audiences."
"Michele Tracy Berger provides an insightful and innovative approach to understanding relational and historical factors influencing health and well-being for Black mothers and their adolescent daughters. Through first grounding readers in intersectionality and highlighting the significance of Black women-led health initiatives, such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, Berger grounds readers in the critical importance of centering Black women’s perspectives to shift the paradigm of health and wellness. She then guides the reader through her rigorous qualitative research findings, organized by the worldviews of her focus group participants. Black Women's Health appropriately highlights the multidimensional characteristics of Black mothers, daughters, as well as the strengths and challenges of their dynamic contextualized relationships. This is a must read for any individual or group committed to positively influence the lives of Black women and girls."
Women’s Studies, Grinnell College
NANCY A. NAPLES
Perspectives on Politics
CHERLY L. WOODS GISCOMBE
Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Michele Tracy Berger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is also the Associate Chair of the department.
Her research, teaching, and practice all focus on intersectional approaches to studying areas of inequality, especially racial and gender health disparities. This work spans the fields of public health, sociology, and women's and gender studies.
Her latest book is Black Women’s Health: Paths to Wellness for Mothers and Daughters (New York University Press). Black Women’s Health explores the real-life meanings and everyday practices of health (i.e., mental, physical, emotional, and sexual). The book’s focus is on southern African American mothers and their adolescent daughters and examines the themes that emerge about health, information, access to health care, and sexuality at a crucial period of girls’ lives—early adolescence. Her book will be the first monograph focusing on African American mother and daughter relationships and their role in shaping health practices.
She is the former Director of the Faculty Fellows Program at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. In this role, she engaged and mentored a diverse array of faculty in an interdisciplinary environment.
She served as Vice-President of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) from 2010-2014. She currently serves on Ms. Magazine’s Scholars Board.
Dr. Berger is a gifted and skilled facilitator. She has developed a unique workshop designed to empower women’s and gender studies students to pursue their deepest interests after graduation. She has given this workshop at many institutions including Grinnell College, Colgate University, State University of New York-Albany, The University of Michigan, Ohio University, and the University of St. Thomas.
Transform Your World: Exploring Career and Life Fulfilling Opportunities Using Your Women’s and Gender Studies Degree
Time: 2 ½ hours (preferable)
Wondering how to apply your training in women’s and gender studies beyond college? This small hands-on workshop is designed for upper-level women’s and gender studies majors and minors. It will provide a rare and exciting opportunity to explore career pathways in women’s and gender studies. We will draw on several concepts from the book Transforming Scholarship as our starting point. This workshop will then help participants map their skills, training, and interests to possible career and civic engagement pathways. We will use creative exercises to support self-discovery (e.g. prompt writing).
This workshop will help you to:
• Set goals that speak to your heart and provide lasting motivation
• Recognize and assess your internal strengths and external skills
• Practice communicating the value of a women’s and gender studies degree
• Develop an action plan that you can implement
• Find additional sources of encouragement, affirmation, and advice for building and sustaining feminist communities after graduation
Since 2014, Dr. Berger has been a co-investigator on a project that seeks to measure and assess the health, emotional, and physiological effects of yoga and meditation in twelve-week interventions with adolescents in K-12 settings. This integrates her long-standing interest in contemplative practices and applied research. This inter-institutional project is funded through Duke University’s Bass Connections. She and her collaborator, Professor Keval Khalsa (Duke University), have received over $70,000 in research support.
Their research will contribute to emerging scholarship on the effectiveness of yoga practices for health and wellness for adolescents being researched by scholars in psychology and education. The innovative research design employs qualitative and quantitative methods and a longer time period (of the yoga intervention) than many other studies, making it an important methodological contribution.
This research experience has also brought with it an innovative teaching model that Dr. Berger relishes. Through work with her colleague, she brings together UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke students in an experiential learning opportunity. Bass Connections seeks to provide a model of ‘vertical integration' in learning, where students can learn about research from senior scholars in an intensive and applied way.
In the spring, Dr. Berger and Professor Khalsa solicit calls across UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke for undergraduate and/or graduate) students to apply to join their ‘learning team’ (‘Mindfulness in Human Development’). Once accepted, UNC students are encouraged to commit for two semesters (Duke students are required). A learning team consists of 4-10 students.
Their team develops research skills through assisting with onsite data collection; collecting health data, distributing pre and post-questionnaires; conducting teacher observations and recording, coding, and analyzing that data; assisting with and analyzing qualitative data.
Their research and learning process has been interdisciplinary, community-based, and participatory in nature, engaging with diverse community stakeholders in an effort to explore effective, low-cost, and holistic interventions that support positive adolescent development and resiliency. The focus of this project allows for team-based learning that is creative and kinesthetic, and that often takes place outside the classroom.
Under the co-pis’ guidance, the learning team also develops and hosts a one-day symposium called the ‘Embodied Learning Summit’. Each summit is themed and takes up issues that connect yoga practitioners, researchers, K-12 teachers and students, and activists.
Undergraduates have presented research based on this project at UNC’s Undergraduate Research Symposium and at Duke’s EHDx Talk. Their first article “A Non-randomized Trial of Kundalini Yoga for Emotion Regulation within an After-school Program for Adolescents” from the project can be found in the Journal of Child and Family Studies 30, pages 711–722 (2021). Access the journal here.