Dr. Banks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses that examine race, gender, class, sexuality, and culture.
Banks is the author of Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness, published by New York University Press. She is co-editor of Black California Dreamin’: The Crises of California’s African-American Communities, as well as the author of a number of scholarly articles and book chapters that examine issues pertaining to black feminist thought, African American women in film, pedagogy, beauty culture, and sociology of the body. She has reviewed a number of scholarly books in several peer-reviewed journals and has presented her work at a variety of conferences and institutions nationally and internationally.
Her commentary has appeared in various media outlets, including The New York Times, The BBC, The Guardian (UK), CNN.com, Air America, Loop 21, and Al Jazeera. She is also a former Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City. Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage established the foundation in 1907 for “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.”
Professor Banks received her undergraduate degree in History with a minor in African American Studies and Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.