Patricia A. Banks

Associate Professor of Sociology
Specialization: 
sociology of culture; sociology of art; consumers and consumption; race and ethnicity; philanthropy; qualitative methods

Patricia A. Banks (Harvard University Ph.D. & A.M./Spelman College B.A.) is a sociologist whose research program lies at the intersection of culture, patronage, and markets. With a focus on the African Diaspora, she studies the determinants, consequences, and meanings of cultural patronage and the processes underlying the emergence and growth of cultural markets. Some of the topics she explores are the bi-directional relationship between art collecting and identity, structural and cultural explanations of museum philanthropy, and the influence of consecration on the art market. 

She is author of the book Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class (Routledge 2010) and has published articles in journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Cultural Sociology, and Qualitative Sociology. Her research involves various methods including in-depth interviews, visual analysis, participant observation, and archival research. Represent is the first major empirical and theoretical analysis of art collecting as a practice of black identity construction. She is currently working on the book Race, Ethnicity, and Consumption: A Sociological View (Under Contract Routledge) where she brings sociological theory to bear on race and ethnicity in the for-profit and non-profit marketplaces. In other research projects Banks is investigating philanthropy at African American museums, corporate support for the arts, and the global market for contemporary African art. 

Banks has been a Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow and Non-Resident Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research (now the Hutchins Center) at Harvard University, and received fellowships or grants from institutions such as the UNCF/Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the American Association of University Women. She was recently elected to serve a three year term as a Council Member for the Sociology of Culture section of the American Sociological Association and has served in an elected position as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Sociological Association Section on Race, Gender and Class. Her work with students has been recognized by a teaching award from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University and election as the Junior Faculty Baccalaureate Speaker at Mount Holyoke College. Banks has lectured and given talks on issues related to art and culture internationally and nationally. She is also the creator of the African American Museums Database (AAMD) which is a digital archive that allows researchers and other users to search for over 300 African American museums and related organizations across the United States. For more information about how her research on art collecting and racial identity has been incorporated into the sociology of art see Sociology Looks at the Arts (Routledge 2014).

Selected Courses

Fall 2017

  • Art and Society (Mount Holyoke College)
  • The Business of Culture: Marketing and Selling Symbolic Goods (Mount Holyoke College)

 Selected Past Courses

  • Black Cultural Production and Consumption (Mount Holyoke College) 
  • Class in the Black Community (Mount Holyoke College)
  • Foodies: Taste and Culture in a Global Society (Mount Holyoke College)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research and Data Analysis (Mount Holyoke College)
  • Introduction to Sociology (Mount Holyoke College)
  • Race in America: Let's Talk (Mount Holyoke College

 Selected Past Independent Studies

  • The Market for Art by Contemporary African Artists: Artist Histories (Independent Study, Mount Holyoke College)
  • Fashion, Business, and Society (Independent Study, Mount Holyoke College)
  • Social Entrepreneurship at Mount Holyoke College (Independent Study, Mount Holyoke College)
  • African Immigrants and Assimilation in the United States (Independent Study, Mount Holyoke College)

Selected Publications

Books

Banks, Patricia A. Race, Ethnicity, and Consumption: A Sociological View. Under Contract Routledge.

Banks, Patricia A. 2010. Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class. New York: Routledge.

*Reviews: Contemporary Sociology, International Review of African American Art

*Introductory Texts: Sociology Looks at the Arts (Routledge 2014)

Articles, Chapters, Reviews & Essays

Banks, Patricia A. Forthcoming. Series of Entries on Collectors of African American Art. “Walter O. Evans,” “Vivian and John Hewitt,” and “Paul R. Jones.” Blackpast.org.

Banks, Patricia A. 2017. “Collecting African American Art: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Obama Era." Blackpast.org

Banks, Patricia A. 2017. "Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary African Art Sale: Fluid Categories." Contemporaryand.com. May 25.

Banks, Patricia A. 2017. “Ethnicity, Class, and Trusteeship at African American and Mainstream Museums." Cultural Sociology 11 (1): 97-112. 

Banks, Patricia A. 2016. Invited review of Susan E. Cahan. Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).Ethnic and Racial Studies.  DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1232.

Banks, Patricia A. 2015. “Identity and the Consumption of African American Art in Art Education." Art Education Journal 68(6): 16-21.

Banks, Patricia A. 2014. "Art Ownership as Wealth Accumulation." Encyclopedia of Quality of Life Research. New York: Springer. 

Banks, Patricia A. 2013. "Collecting Kara Walker" Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated). Exhibition Catalog. South Hadley, MA: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.

Banks, Patricia A. 2012. “Cultural Socialization in Black Middle-Class Families.” Cultural Sociology 6 (1): 61-73.

Banks, Patricia A. 2012. “Cultural Capital.” in J. Banks (ed) Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education. London: Sage.

Banks, Patricia A. 2012. Invited review of Diane Grams. Producing Local Color: Art Networks in Ethnic Chicago. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).American Journal of Sociology 117 (4): 1284-1286.

Banks, Patricia A. 2011. Invited review of Daniel Widener. Black Arts West: Culture and Struggle in Postwar Los Angeles. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).Ethnic and Racial Studies 34 (2): 397-398.

Banks, Patricia A. 2010. “Black Cultural Advancement: Racial Identity and Participation in the Arts Among the Black Middle-Class.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 33 (2): 272-289.  

Banks, Patricia A. 2010. Invited review of Kimberly Eison Simmons. Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic. (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press). Ethnic and Racial Studies 33(6): 1142.

Banks, Patricia A. 2010. “Conceptions of Art Ownership as a Form of Wealth Accumulation Among the Black Middle-Class.” Qualitative Sociology 33 (3): 333-348.  

Banks, Patricia A. 2010. “Reflecting the Nation: Culturally Inclusive Arts Policy and Race and Ethnicity.” Journal of Race and Policy 6 (1): 95-105.

Banks, Patricia A. 2008. Invited review of Karyn R. Lacy. Blue-Chip Black: Race, Class, and Status in the New Black Middle-Class. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press). Society 45: 210-211.

Upcoming and Recent Presentations

Invited Guest Lecture-African American Museums and their Meanings, MUX 119: Museums in Society, Smith College, 6 October 2017

Panelist-The Globalization of Contemporary Art: Markets, (De-) Coloniality and (De)Commodification, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2017, Montreal, Canada

Faculty Workshop Participant-"Crafting Management Skills for the Arts," The Business of Teaching, Copenhagen Business School, July 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark

Faculty Forum Participant-Race in the Marketplace (RIM) Forum, Kogod School of Business, American University, Washington, D.C., May 2017

Presenting-Philanthropy and Diversity at African American Museums, Fifth Exposure Seminar (The Dark Room Seminar), Mount Holyoke College, May 2017

Presenting-E-Commerce and the Fine Art Market, Mini-Conference: Digital Sociology: XII: Digitally Networked Field Studies, February 2017, Philadelphia, PA

Invited Guest Speaker, American History as African American History: Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smith College visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, April 2017, Washington, D.C. 

Presenting-Is the Market for Contemporary African Art on the Rise?, Black Portraiture[s] III: Reinventions: Strains of Histories and Culture, 17-19 November 2016, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa

Panelist-Professional Development Workshop and Business Meeting: Navigating the Faculty/Post-Doc Job Market as a Cultural Sociologist, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 20 August 2016, Seattle, Washington, 4:30 p.m.

Panelist-Conversation featuring Riché J. Daniel Barnes and her new book Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (Rutgers 2016), 29 April 2016, Smith College, Neilson Browsing Room, 4:30 p.m.

Presenting-Intersectionality and the Market for Contemporary Art, Fourth Exposure Seminar (The Dark Room Seminar), 23 April 2016, Mount Holyoke College, Gamble Auditorium, 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Presenting-The Rise of Africa in the Contemporary Art Market: Myth or Reality?, The Art Market in a Global Perspective, 28 January 2016, University of Amsterdam

Interviewing-Touria El Glaoui, Founder 1:54: Contemporary African Art FairThe Art Market in a Global Perspective, 28 January 2016, University of Amsterdam

Presenting-Black Artists in the Art Market, Family & Friends Weekend, 25 October 2015, Mount Holyoke College, Hooker Auditorium, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

Presenting-Prices for Art by Female and Male Artists of African Descent in the Auction Market, Section on Sociology of Culture Paper Session: Art, Money, and Meaning Panel, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 24 August 2015, Chicago, IL. 

Selected Professional Service

Council Member (elected), Section on Sociology of Culture, American Sociological Association (2017- )

Chair, Assistant Professor of Sociology Search Committee, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College (2017-)

Chair, LITS (Library, Information, & Technology Services) Committee, Mount Holyoke College (2017- )

Chair, Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Section on Sociology of Culture, American Sociological Association (2017)

Chair, Art Museum Director Search Committee, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (2016)

Chair (Acting), Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College (2016)

Member, Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award Committee, American Sociological Association (2015- )

Chair, Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award Committee, Section on Race, Gender, and Class, American Sociological Association (2013, 2014)

Secretary-Treasurer (elected), Section on Race, Gender, and Class, American Sociological Association (2011-2014)

Fellowships Panelist, National Endowment for the Humanities (2009)

News Links

"Results of the 2017 ASA Election"
American Sociological Association News

"Acumen, Imagination, Success"
Mount Holyoke College: News & Events

"Global Elites: Who Are They, How & Why Should We Care?"
Medium.com (Jessica Holden Sherwood)

"Art, Money, and Meaning" (pg. 18) 
ASA Culture Section Newsletter

"Toyin Odutola" 
International Review of African American Art