Dr. Premilla Nadasen
Associate Professor of History
Premilla Nadasen is a Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University. She researches and writes on race, gender, social policy, and labor history. Her most recent book, Household Worker Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement examines how African American domestic workers in the U.S. strategically used storytelling to develop a political identity and through their organizing reshaped the landscape of labor organizing. She is also author of Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles about welfare, domestic work, social movements, and African American women’s history.

She has won fellowships and honors for her work, including the Sara Whaley Book Prize, the John Hope Franklin Book Prize, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Article Prize, and the Darlene Clark Hine Prize. She is currently writing a biography of South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba.

Nadasen has been engaged with community and campus activism for many years, including anti-racist, feminist, and anti-apartheid organizing. More recently, she has worked with and supported social justice organizations including domestic workers and welfare rights groups. She has an abiding interest in political empowerment of the poor and movements for social justice, with a particular focus women of color.

She has bridged academic and activist work by making her scholarly work accessible to people outside of the university. She has been a consultant for museums, has written op-eds for newspapers and on-line outlets and served as expert witness before the New York State Assembly Committee on Labor as well as the federal Department of Labor.   She is currently collaborating with the Institute for Policy Studies and NDWA on the “We Dream in Black Project” to mobilize Black domestic workers in the South.