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

Riley, Emmitt Y., Ph.D.




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Political Science, Asbury Hall, Room 103
Greencastle, IN

Africana Studies

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science

Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley, III is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science. He is also the  Director of Africana Studies at DePauw University.  

He is native of the Mississippi Delta, having been born and raised in Itta Bena, Mississippi. 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 received a master’s degree in political science from Jackson State University in 2010. Dr. 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 Racial and Black Politics. 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 by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.  

Dr. Riley has teaching and research interests in Race Politics, Black Politics, Legislative-Process, American Government, Political Marginalization, Inequality, and Introduction to Africana Studies. Dr. Riley’s research explores the degree to which African American political representation impacts the racial attitudes and political behavior of whites. 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 journals such as the Journal of Black StudiesJournal of Race & Policy, and the National Review of Black Politics. He is currently writing a book entitled Mississippi Goddamn: The Constraints of Black Politics in Mississippi. This book investigates the political and institutional challenges faced by black politicians in their quest to represent black constituencies substantively. 

His professional and fraternal associations include the American Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association, the Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora, and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists where he serves as Vice 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. 


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 


Racial Attitudes in America Today:  Political Decision Making and the Emergence of Racial Resentment among Blacks and Whites. (Under Contract). 

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. 2021. Sisters in the Mayor’s Seat: The Elections and Representational Styles of African American Female Mayor’s in the Mississippi DeltaBlack Girl Political Magic: Elections and Governance.  Edited by Sharon W. Austin in Progress. – Forthcoming


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 StrategyAfrican 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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