Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Technology and Social Change Project at the Shorenstein Center in the Harvard Kennedy School
Lecturer in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University
Marya Thembi Mtshali is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Technology and Social Change Project at the Shorenstein Center in the Harvard Kennedy School and a Lecturer in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. Additionally, she has taught classes at Wellesley College and Clark University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston College under the tutelage of Zine Magubane, Ph.D. She obtained her B.S. in Sociology, B.S. in Marketing with an emphasis in international business, and a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Arizona State University.
Her areas of interest include intersectional theory, racial and gender inequality, internet disinformation and African-American political engagement. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is researching African-Americans' gendered interactions and motivations with internet political and medical misinformation. Additionally, she is currently working on her book manuscript for Gray Matter: Racialized Heteronormativies in the World of Black-White Interracial Couples, where she investigates what she refers to as “racialized heteronormative paradigms” -- mental frameworks that are constituted of race, gender, and heterosexual logics that shape the language, relational boundaries, and management strategies these couples use to maintain an intimate relationship across race. In this work, she utilizes an intersectional lens to interrogate and illuminate the ways in which race, gender and racialized gender ideologies interact to shape how members of heterosexual Black/White intimate couples perceive certain social situations and their options for negotiating social norms and issues -- specifically, negative public interactions, intra-relational discussions of race, and childrearing.
She has written Vox and Cosmopolitan, and her research and commentary have been featured in places such as USA Today, The New York Times, National Journal, and Business Insider. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, indoor gardening, music, reading, and spending time with her dog Tesla.