M. Ruth Dike, PhD

Assistant Professor Term


My research examines the way that societies change over time, especially regarding gender, social class, and labor politics in and outside of the family. 

I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky with a focus on cultural anthropology. My dissertation research was supporting by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, PEO Scholar Award, and Lambda Alpha Dissertation Research Grant, with additional support from the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology and Food Connection. 

My research uses reproductive labor as a lens to examine how gendered and classed subjectivities are continuously created, performed, and subtly transformed within and outside of urban middle-class Moroccan households. Reproductive labor is broadly defined as unpaid and paid labor associated with care giving and domestic roles including but not limited to cleaning, cooking, and childcare. Subjectivities are the perspectives, feelings, beliefs, and desires of subjects within uneven relations of power. While most existing research on reproductive labor uses quantitative methods which pre-formulates participants’ responses, this project employs a fine-grained ethnographic approach to explore everyday practices in the household to uncover participants’ own reasons and strategies for negotiating reproductive labor in the way they do. This research deepens our understanding of how and why households create more equitable distributions of reproductive labor, a persistent form of feminized labor that underpins the reproduction of society and capitalism. 

I teach courses in gender, anthropology of food, the anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa, urban anthropology, the anthropology of family and kinship, and political economy. As a teacher, I strive to facilitate deep conversations, improve students’ multimodal communications and critical thinking skills, and broaden students’ understandings of other human beings and themselves.  

I was born and raised in Memphis, TN but hold a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Anthropology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy from Boston University.