Education: Professional Bio


Rev. Dr. Sandra L. Barnes is an ordained minister and joint appointed Professor in the Dept. of Human and Organizational Development and the School of Divinity at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN since 2008. Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, she held faculty appointments at Purdue University (2000-2007) and Case Western Reserve University (2007-2008). Her research and teaching areas include: Sociology of Religion, inequality (race, class, and gender), urban sociology, statistics, and African American studies. Dr. Barnes received a B.S. degree (1986) in mathematics and economics from Fisk University in Nashville, TN. She also earned Master’s degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology (1989) and the Interdenominational Theological Center (1995) and the Ph.D. degree (1999) in Sociology from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. Phi Beta Kappa, her record includes: 8 books; 3 edited volumes; about 50 peer-reviewed articles; 8 book chapters; and, PI or Co-PI on grants totaling over $2 million dollars. She is also a consultant, writer, and public speaker. Ordained for almost thirty years, Rev. Barnes writes for both the academic and mainstream markets. Some of her book publications include:

  • Kings of Mississippi: Race, Religious Education, and the Making of a Middle Class Black Family in the Segregated South (with Benita Blanford-Jones, Cambridge University Press forthcoming March 2019)

  • Empowering Black Youth of Promise (with Dr. Anne Streaty-Wimberly, Routledge Press 2016)

  • Live Long and Prosper: How Black Megachurches Address HIV/AIDS and Poverty in the Age of Prosperity Theology (Fordham University Press 2012)

  • Subverting the Power of Prejudice (InterVarsity Press 2006)

  • The Costs of Being Poor: A Comparative Study of Life in Poor Urban Neighborhoods in Gary, Indiana (SUNY Press 2005)

Her articles have been published in SOCIAL FORCES, Social Problems, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Journal of African American Studies. She also created and developed the documentary, “Gary, Indiana: A Tale of Two Cities” (with Cinematicfocus in Nashville, TN). Barnes has presented her research in Beijing, China, Curitiba, Brazil, Dublin, Ireland, and at the Congressional Black Caucus of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C. (link to vita

Related Vanderbilt University links:

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