Professor of American Studies, Department Chair
Focuses on 20th-century African American political history and civil rights

Neill Hall 109

Professor Harris’ fifth book was released, September 1, 2017.  Race and Policing with Rebecca Rissman examines recent incidents of minorities being mistreated or dying in police custody, delving into the historical institutions and laws that underpin today’s system and exploring what police departments and the communities they serve are doing to improve communication and relationships.

Duchess Harris, is a professor and chair of the American Studies Department at Macalester College. Her other publications are the co-authored book Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA and Black Lives Matter with Sue Bradford Edwards, Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity with Bruce Baum, and Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama), she has been an associate editor for Litigation News, the American Bar Association Section’s quarterly flagship publication, and was the first editor-in-chief of Law Raza Journal, an interactive online race and the law journal for William Mitchell College of Law.

Harris has advocated on the national level at the Congressional Black Caucus. Locally, she was appointed as a Minneapolis Civil Rights Commissioner by Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, appointed to the Governor’s Council on Black Minnesotans by Governor Jesse Ventura, appointed to Co-Chair the Statewide Marin Luther King Holiday (twice) by Governor Mark Dayton; and served as a Constituent Advocate for the late Senator Paul Wellstone.  She has sat on the Boards of several nonprofits including True Friends, The Women’s Foundation of MN, and Brown Body.

In May 2017, ABDO (, a leading educational publisher, announced that they will introduce a new line of titles written by Duchess Harris, JD, PhD, into the market by Spring Season 2018. This line will provide scholarly expertise with a collegiate perspective for mid- and high-level grades. The first appearance of this line will be in January of 2018. It will feature two series in each the Core Library imprint (Grades 3-6) and the Essential Library imprint (Grades 6-12) of the Abdo Publishing division. Each of the four series will showcase six books.

Professor Harris was a Mellon Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.  She spent her final year in grad school as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School.  She received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law. In 2015 the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers chose her to receive “The Profiles in Courage Award.”