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Photograph of Dr. Patricia Turner

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

This is a black & white photograph of Dr. Patricia Turner. Dr. Turner was born in Sag Harbor, receiving her education locally, and receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley in 1985. Between then and 1990, she taught at the University of Massachusetts Boston, followed by joining the faculty of UC Davis and becoming a full professor in 1997.

Dr. Turner served as director of the American Studies program from 1997-1998 and as director of African and African-American Studies from 1998 to 2000. Within that time in 1999, she was appointed Vice-Provost-Undergraduate Studies at UC Davis. She serves on the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant College’s Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence, as well as serving on the board of the American Folklore Society.

She has written numerous books includingI Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African American Culture” (University of California Press, 1993), “Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America” (University of California Press, 2001), and “Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African-American Quilters” (University of Mississippi Press, 2009).

Dr. Turner has been a consulting scholar on several documentary film projects. She conducted research and appeared on Marlon Riggs’ "Ethnic Notions", which received an Emmy award in 1989 for best research in a documentary. She also conducted research and appeared in his Peabody-award winning film “Color Adjustment”. Recently, she was interviewed for a film on quilt artist Riche Richardson, titled “Portrait of an Artist: Riche Richardson.”

Dr. Turner’s commentary on issues related to folklore and popular culture is frequently sought by national newspapers, dozens of radio programs, and many television journalists. Her “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” book inspired a story on ABC’s 20/20.

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