Celeste Watkins-Hayes is Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and Associate Vice President for Research at Northwestern University. She previously served as Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern. In addition to her faculty appointments, Watkins-Hayes is a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health.
Watkins-Hayes has published numerous articles about urban poverty; social policy; HIV/AIDS; non-profit and government organizations; and race, class, and gender. Her book, The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2009), is an examination of how welfare officers 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. Her next book, Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality, is forthcoming with the University of California Press. Watkins-Hayes received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Investigator Award and a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award to conduct the research that led to this book.
Dr. Watkins-Hayes currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College and the Board of Directors of the Detroit Institute of Arts. She has been profiled in ESSENCE, USA Today Weekend, Chicago Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2018, Watkins-Hayes received the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is the highest teaching award given by Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Watkins-Hayes holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Spelman College, where she graduated summa cum laude.