Jacqueline Rivers

Jacqueline Rivers


Ph.D. in African American Studies and Sociology from Harvard University
The Power of Racial Socialization: A Form of Non-Elite Cultural Capital
Hutchins Fellow
2016-2017 Academic Year


Jacqueline C. Rivers has served as a lecturer at Harvard University and has presented at Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Enterprise Institute, the Vatican, the United Nations and in several other venues. Her latest publication, co-authored with Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, appears in the volume The Cultural Matrix.

Jacqueline Rivers holds a PhD from Harvard University where she was a Doctoral Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy of the J. F. Kennedy School of Government and a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Science Foundation. She graduated from Harvard Radcliffe College (B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and M.A., both in Psychology).

Project Description

The Power of Racial Socialization: A Form of Non-Elite Cultural Capital

My dissertation project examines non-elite cultural capital that black parents bring to socializing their children and investigates how its use affects the deployment of different forms of cultural capital among black parents relative to whites. The results suggest that middle class black parents do not appear to suffer a disadvantage relative to their white peers in these areas. Rather black parents’ attention to a form of non-elite cultural capital reinforces their efforts at fostering academic achievement. These findings lend support to the importance of structural barriers that blacks encounter in the educational system.

During my fellowship period, I will develop two chapters of my dissertation into scholarly articles and to work on expanding those into a book-length manuscript, drawing on a very rich supply of interview data. The project could lead to an article discussing black parents’ rising to the challenge of raising adolescents in the face of racial barriers to academic success through their use of their cultural capital. Another would focus on differences between black and white middle class parents’ use of  cultural capital to support academic achievement and how these differences vary in different segments in the middle class.

2016-2017: Hutchins Fellow

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