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Riley, Emmitt Y., Ph.D. - Faculty Bio

Riley, Emmitt Y., Ph.D.



(765) 658-6353

Personal Website
Asbury Hall
Greencastle, IN

Africana Studies

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science - on leave

Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley, III is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He also serves as the Director of the Africana Studies Program. He was born and raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Dr. Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2008 at Mississippi Valley State University. He earned a master’s degree in political science from Jackson State University in 2010. Prof. Riley continued his education at The University of Mississippi, where he earned a master’s and Doctorate of Philosophy in political science with a specialization in American Politics and International Relations in 2014. He is an expert in American Politics, Black Politics, Legislative Politics, and Racial Attitudes. In 2018, he was named the 2018 Anna Julia Cooper Teacher of the Year by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. In 2020, he received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award for Service from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He also received the 2021 G. Bromley Oxnam Award for Service, named for DePauw’s 13th president, who served from 1928-1936. This award honors a mid-career faculty member who has made significant contributions to the University, the academic or professional world, the Greencastle community, or the wider arena of civic contributions through social outreach or social justice. Dr. Riley also was named the 2021 Faculty Member of the Year Award at DePauw University.

Dr. Riley has teaching and research interests in Race Politics, Black Politics, Legislative-Process, American Government, Political Marginalization, Inequality, and Identity Politics. Dr. Riley’s research explores the degree to which African American political representation impacts racial attitudes and political behavior. His research investigates both the substantive and symbolic benefits of black descriptive representation. Dr. Riley’s research has sparked regional, national, and international interests. Dr. Riley has written several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. His research has appeared in the Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Race & Policy, and the National Review of Black Politics.

His professional and fraternal associations include the American Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association, Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora, and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, where he serves as the 42nd President. Dr. Riley is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Iota Lambda Chapter, and he is also the former President of the Rho Gamma Lambda Chapter in Greenwood, Mississippi. He is a board member for the Mississippi Free Press and also serves as an Educational Consultant for the College Board, Edmentum Inc., and GIS Redistricting Mentor for the Southern Coaltion for Social Justice.

Since arriving at DePauw University, Dr. Riley has served on several university committees such as the Resource Allocations Committee, Community Standards Council, Day of Dialogue 3.0, Africana Studies Steering Committee, Diversity and Equity Serch Committee, and Personnel, Policy, and Review. Dr. Riley is also the former faculty adviser for the African American Association of Students. Dr. Riley is an occasional political contributor at The Hill, Mississippi Free Press, and national radio shows outside of the university. He is a member of New Bethel M.B. Church in Itta Bena, Mississippi, where he sings in the Senior Choir. He is the son of the late Emmitt Riley, Jr. and Mrs. Johnnie M. Riley. He has one sister Chiquita L. Jackson and three nieces Myeshia Hendrix, Angel Jackson, and Kalyn Jackson.


AFST 197: Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance, & Protest
AFST 100: Intro to Africana Studies
AFST 290: Identity Politics
POLS 110: Intro to American Politics
POLS 316: Legislative Politics
POLS 323: Race Politics


Peterson, C., & Riley, III, E.Y. (2022). Racial Attitudes in America Today: One Nation, Still Divided (1st ed). Routledge

Mississippi Goddamn: The Constraints of Black Political Representation in the Mississippi Delta. Manuscript in Progress

Referred Research Articles

Riley, Emmitt, and Peterson, Clarissa. 2020. I Can't Breath: Assessing the role of Racial Resentment in Feelings towards #BLM. National Review of Black Politics 1(4): 469-515.

Riley. Emmitt, and Peterson, Clarissa. 2019. “Economic Anxiety or Racial Predispositions? Explaining White Support for Donald Trump.” Journal of Race & Policy 14: (1) 5-24.

Riley, Emmitt, and Peterson, Clarissa. 2019. “Explaining the Impact of Black Political Representation on Racial Resentment in Majority Black Congressional Districts.” Journal of Black Studies 50: (7) 1-22.

Working Papers

Riley, Emmitt, and Clarissa Peterson. 2021. "Examining the Relationship Between Linked Fate and Racial Attitudes Towards the Black Lives Matter Movement in the U.S. Across Racial Goups."

Riley, Emmitt, and Peterson, Clarissa. 2021 “Minority Legislators, Majority Views: Race, Partisanship, and Congressional Job Approval.”

Book Chapters

Riley, Emmitt, Morrison, K.C., Jones, Yolanda. 2023. Sisters in the Mayor’s Seat: The Elections and Representational Styles of African American Female Mayor’s in the Mississippi Delta. Black Girl Political Magic: Elections and Governance. Edited by Sharon W. Austin in Progress. 

Riley, Emmitt. 2020. For the Culture: Explaining the Electoral Success of African American Incumbents. From Slavery to Liberation: The African American Experience. (Eds.) Joshua D. Farrington, Gwendolyn Graham, and Normal Powel.

Peterson, Clarissa, and Riley, Emmitt. 2017. The Great Divider: President Obama's Influence on Trust in Government and Racial Attitudes in How the Obama Presidency Changed the Political Landscape. (Eds.) Larry J. Walker, F. Erik Brooks, and Ramon Goings.

Riley, Emmitt. The Southern Strategy. African Americans in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of African Americans as Voters, Candidates and Office Holders. ABC-CLIO Greenwood- Forthcoming.

Riley, Emmitt. Cynthia McKinney. African Americans in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of African Americans as Voters, Candidates and Office Holders. ABC-CLIO Greenwood- Forthcoming.

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