Nyesha Black. Visiting Assistant Professor
Heritage Hall 460 M
(205) 934-8680

Research and Teaching Interests: Race/Ethnicity, Health Disparities, Minority Health, Demography, Spatial Inequalities

Office Hours: By appointment

  • AA, Shelton State Community College, General Studies
  • BS, University of Alabama, Economics
  • Dual MA, Pennsylvania State University, Sociology and Demography
  • Dual PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Sociology and Demography

I am scientist. However, I don’t work in a lab, where I wear goggles and a lab coat, nor do I mix chemicals using a pipette. The world is my laboratory, and that’s what I love about sociology, and other social sciences (i.e., demography and economics). Anyone can conduct a sociological study, and we often do it daily, whether consciously or not. As human beings, we are always trying to understand ourselves, and the people around us. Isaac Newton summed it up perfectly:  “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.”

Clearly, human behavior is complex and hard to quantify, but that is what makes sociology fun to study. Furthermore, sound theoretical reasoning, coupled with skills in research methods, makes the discipline applicable in real world settings. As a professor I borrow from multiple perspectives to help students understand abstract concepts, and I use various tools to ensure that my students are able to apply those concepts.

As a researcher I adopt an interdisciplinary lens to understand contextual and historical influences on individuals' life chances. Hence, I aim to understand how the history of place shapes the local social, cultural, political, and legal environment, and how the environment shapes economic and health outcomes among individuals across the life course.

  • Population Policy and Policy Issues
  • Nyesha C. Black, “An Ecological Approach to Understanding Adult Obesity Prevalence in the United States: A County-Level Analysis Using Geographically Weighted Regression,” Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy 7 (No. 3, 2014):283-99.
  • Tse-Chuan Yang, Carla Shoff, Aggie J. Noah, Nyesha Black, and Corey S. Sparks, “Racial Segregation and Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy: A Multilevel Analysis Using the Racial Segregation Interaction Index,” Social Science & Medicine 107 (2014):26–36.
  • Mary C. Ahearn, James M. Williamson, and Nyesha C. Black, “Implications of Health Care Reform for Farm Businesses and Families,” Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 37 (No. 2, 2014):260-86.
  • Population Association of American
  • Southern Demographic Association
  • American Public Health Association