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Akeia Benard

Wheelock College Assistant Professor of American Studies Akeia BenardAssistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Email: abenard@wheelock.edu
Phone: 617-879-2392
Office: ACE 223 H

Educational Degrees

B.A. 2000, Salve Regina University
M.A. (Anthropology) 2005, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Ph.D. (Anthropology) 2008, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Dr. Akeia Angelique Benard is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development and develops/teaches courses in American Studies and Political Science. Benard studies African American, Native American and Rastafarian archaeology and ethnohistory to document counter-narratives and indigenous worldviews as they relate to the modern world system. Interests and projects include Jamaican and Crucian Rastafarian culture, cultural landscapes, community-inclusive archaeology and oral histories, and free African American communities during slavery, and Native American contact-period adaptations.

Courses Taught

  • Anthropology and Globalization, Perspectives on Global Health, First-Year Seminar: Rastafarians, Indigenous North America, Globalization and Human Rights, and Sex and Culture


  • Benard, A (2008) The Free African-American Cultural Landscape: Newport, Rhode Island, 1774-1826. University of Connecticut Department of Anthropology.

Selected Publications

  • Benard, A (2016) Colonizing Black Female Bodies within Patriarchal Capitalism: Feminist and Human Rights Perspectives. Journal of Sexualization, Media, and Society. (in press)
  • Benard, A (2014) Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Health and Illness. Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior and Society.
  • Benard, A (2007) The Material Roots of Rastafarian Marijuana Symbolism, History and Anthropology, Vol. 18, No. 1.

Selected Presentations

  • •Benard, A (2014) Narratives of Transfer, Dependence, and Resistance: Contemporary Colonialism in the U.S. Virgin Islands. American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Washington DC, Dec. 2014.
  • Benard, A (2014) Keeping the Empire Respectable: Patriarchal Capitalism and the Colonization of Black Female Eroticism. New England American Studies Annual Conference, Roger Williams University, Oct. 2014.
  • Benard, A (2014) Indigenous Concepts of Personhood: Evidence from Burial Data. Algonquin Conference, Uncasville, CT, Oct. 2014.
  • Benard, A. (2010) Exploring Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century African American Community Life in Newport, Rhode Island. Spring Lecture Series, Newport Restoration Foundation, March 9, 2010.
  • Benard, A (2009) Liminality and Prestige: Interpreting the Status of Native American Children Using Burial Data. American Society for Ethnohistory Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA October 3, 2009


  • 02/15/2015 Al Jazeera America interview on Vodou in New Orleans.
  • 11/18/2014 BBC World Interview on Rastafarian perspectives on the family of Bob Marley marketing legalized marijuana with a multinational corporation.

Professional Activities

  • Consultant, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Sexualization, Media and Society
  • Vice Chair, Sankofa Community Connections, A non-profit organization with the mission: To decrease issues prevalent within urban communities by empowering its often underserved members through education and by cultivating community leadership that will help to increase cultural pride, strive for health equity and build a thriving African American Community in Newport County.

Current Research/Works in Progress

  • Geneological database of African Americans in Newport RI: 1760 - 1830
  • Strangers and Outcasts in a Strange Land: Interpreting the Material Culture of Early African American Life in Newport, RI. Article in preparation for publication.

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