Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Sociologist and African American Studies researcher Celeste Watkins-Hayes’ areas of research specialization are urban poverty; social policy; HIV/AIDS; formal organizations (non-profit and government); and race, class, and gender. Watkins-Hayes is a member of IPR's research program on Poverty, Race, and Inequality and Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health.
Her book, The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2009) is an examination of how welfare caseworkers navigate the increasingly tangled political and emotional terrain of their jobs. The book was a finalist for the 2009 C. Wright Mills Book Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the 2011 Max Weber Book Award from the American Sociological Association. In 2013, Watkins-Hayes was named the inaugural recipient of the Jacquelyn Johnson Jackson Early Career Award from the Association of Black Sociologists.
Watkins-Hayes is also principal investigator of the Health, Hardship, and Renewal Study, which explores the economic and social survival strategies of women living with HIV/AIDS in the Chicago area (www.hhrstrategies.org). In 2009, she received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Investigator Award and a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award to conduct this research. She has published numerous articles in journals and edited volumes including Social Problems, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and The DuBois Review. Watkins-Hayes has been profiled in Essence, USA Today Weekend, and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is also a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project and has published pieces in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera English, and Chicago Magazine.
Watkins-Hayes received her MA and PhD in sociology from Harvard University and a BA from Spelman College, where she graduated summa cum laude. While at Harvard, she was a fellow in the Harvard Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. The program draws on sociology, economics, political science, and public policy to train scholars to develop an interdisciplinary approach to research and to participate in the national debate around issues of social inequality.
She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College and the Advisory Board of the Spelman College Women’s Research and Resource Center. Watkins-Hayes’ intellectual commitments are motivated by a desire to offer analyses and prescriptions, based on empirically and conceptually rich research, that address the real-world issues that limit human potential. Her scholarship, therefore, speaks directly to current policy debates. See more of her work at www.celestewatkinshayes.com
Health, Hardship, and Renewal: A Study of Economic Survival Strategies Among Women Living with HIV/AIDS
This study explores the economic and social experiences of a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse group of Chicago-area women living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). By exploring the acquisition and utilization of economic resources, the study seeks to specify some of the ways in which HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) impacts women's daily living, health management strategies, and social well-being. The research also includes an examination of local AIDS Service Providers to determine how these organizations are responding to the financial challenges of women living with HIV/AIDS. Watkins-Hayes received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Investigator Award and a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award to conduct this research. Data analysis for this project is currently underway.
The Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS for African-American Women: An Ethnographic Study. This ethnographic study explores the social experiences and processes of Chicago-area African-American women infected with HIV/AIDS. By exploring a range of domains in the women's lives, the study seeks to specify some of the ways in which HIV/AIDS impacts their daily living, life chances, and social outcomes. Areas of focus include women’s labor force participation, social network formation and maintenance, intimate relationship dynamics, and child-rearing practices following an HIV diagnosis. The ultimate goal of the study is to highlight some of the social consequences of HIV/AIDS for this population by exploring the short- and long-term effects of the disease on the economic and social well-being of the women and their families. This project has received support from the National Institutes of Health (through the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco) and the National Science Foundation (grant no. 0512018).
Watkins-Hayes, Celeste. The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (2009).
Articles and Book Chapters
Watkins-Hayes, C.. 2013. The micro-dynamics of support seeking: The social and economic utility of institutional ties for HIV-positive women. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 647: 83–101.
Watkins-Hayes, C., L. Pittman-Gay, J. Beaman. 2012. ‘Dying from’ to ‘living with’: Framing institutions and the coping processes of African American women living with HIV/AIDS. Social Science & Medicine 74(12): 2028–36.
Watkins-Hayes, C., C. Patterson, and A. Armour. 2011. Precious: Black women, neighborhood HIV/AIDS risk, and institutional buffers. The DuBois Review 8(1): 229–40.
Watkins-Hayes, C. 2011. Race, respect, and red tape: Inside the black box of racially representative bureaucracies. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21: i233–51.
Watkins-Hayes, Celeste. 2009. Race-ing the bootstrap climb: Black and Latino bureaucrats in post-reform welfare offices (pdf). Social Problems 56(2): 285–310.
Watkins-Hayes, C. 2009. Human services as ‘race work’? Historical lessons and contemporary challenges of black providers. In Human Services as Complex Organizations, 2nd ed., ed. Y. Hasenfeld. Sage Publications.
Watkins-Hayes, C. 2008. The social and economic context of black women living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.: implications for research. In Sex, Power, and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond, ed. R. Reddock, S. Reid, D. Douglas, and D. Roberts. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.
Domínguez, S., and C. Watkins. 2003. Creating networks for survival and mobility: Social capital among African-American and Latin-American low-income mothers (pdf). Social Problems 50(1): 111–35.
Watkins, C. 2001. A tale of two classes: Socio-economic inequality among African-Americans under 35. The State of Black America 2001. New York: National Urban League.
Watkins, C. 2000. When a stumble is not a fall: Recovering from employment setbacks in the welfare to work transition. Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy 6(1): 63–84.
IPR Working Papers & Research Notes
Watkins-Hayes, C., L. Pittman-Gay, and J. Beaman. 2012. ‘Dying from’ to ‘living with’ HIV/AIDS: Framing institutions and the coping processes of infected black women. Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research Working Paper WP-12-01.
Watkins-Hayes, C. 2008. The social and economic context of black women living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.: Implications for research. Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research Working Paper WP-08-06.
Watkins, C. 2006. It’s not just about the money: Governmentality and resistance in post-reform welfare offices. Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research Working Paper WP-06-17.
Comfort, M., and C. Watkins. 2005. HIV/AIDS among people of color: Think local, not just global (pdf). Institute for Policy Research News. Northwestern University. 27(1).