Dr. Patricia Richards, Director of the Institute for Women's Studies, and Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, holds the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship. She is an affiliate faculty member with the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute and the Institute of Native American Studies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002. Her specialty areas include global and transnational sociology; development; race, class, and gender; social movements, and qualitative methodology.
Dr. Richards's first book, Pobladoras, Indígenas and the State: Conflicts Over Women's Rights in Chile, was published in 2004 by Rutgers University Press. In the book, she examines how state policy shapes the promotion of women's interests but at the same time contribute to the marginalization of particular classes and racial-ethnic groups. The book contributes to understandings of how actors who differ by gender, class, and race/ethnicity are articulated into the nation under reestablished democracies.
Professor Richards's second book, Race and the Chilean Miracle: Neoliberalism, Democracy, and Indigenous Rights, was published by University of Pittsburgh Press in 2013. The book examines inter-cultural relations in the context of struggles over natural resources, multicultural policies, and indigenous rights in Southern Chile, documenting the ways that identity and development ideologies are reproduced and reinterpreted at the local level, and how systemic racism is articulated in the process.
Her latest book, coauthored with Rebecca Hanson (University of Florida), is called Harassed: Gender, Bodies, and Ethnographic Fieldwork. The book focuses on women ethnographers' experiences of sexual harassment while conducting field research, and examines what these experiences can tell us about the construction of ethnographic knowledge and our discipline more broadly. It was published in 2019 with the University of California Press.
In addition to her work in Chile, she has conducted field research in Ecuador and Bolivia. Other publications include “Sexual Harassment and the Construction of Ethnographic Knowledge,” in Sociological Forum (coauthored with Becca Hanson), “The Spatiality of Boundary Work: Political-Administrative Borders and Maya-Mam Collective Identification,” forthcoming in Social Problems (coauthored with Jeffrey A. Gardner), “Of Indians and Terrorists: How the State and Local Elites Construct the Mapuche in Neoliberal Multicultural Chile,” in Journal of Latin American Studies 42:59-90, 2010, “Bravas, Integradas, Obsoletas: Mapuche Women in the Chilean Print Media,” in Gender & Society, 21(4): 553-578, 2007, “Negotiating Neoliberal Multiculturalism: Mapuche Workers in the Chilean State,” in Social Forces, 85(3): 1319-1339, 2007. (Co-authored with Yun-Joo Park), and “The Politics of Gender, Human Rights, and Being Indigenous in Chile,” in Gender & Society 19(2): 199-220, 2005.
She is the recipient of the Richard B. Russell Undergraduate Teaching Award (2008) and the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award (2007), and is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy.