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Claudine Taaffe

A headshot of Prof Claudine Taaffe

Associate Chair of African American and Diaspora Studies

Senior Lecturer for African American and Diaspora Studies

Director of Undergraduate Studies 

Associate Director of the Callie House Research Center


Office: Buttrick 230




  • PhD – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2016


  • Black girlhood studies
  • Education policy
  • Visual arts


Dr. Claudine Taaffe is a Senior Lecturer in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. Taaffe is an ethnographer, who engages critical qualitative methods in her work with African American girls. Her research is centered in examining the ways in which Black girls, who are constructed as “at‐risk”, negotiate spaces of decision‐making, identity, and community‐building using the creative arts. In her work with Black girls, Taaffe focuses on the use of photography and performance texts in the creation and documentation of the stories Black girls tell about their lives in schools. Taaffe is committed to utilizing a cacophony of theories, methodologies, and, ultimately, powerful stories that act as counter-narratives to the myths of a Black girlhood that is considered deficit, in crisis, deviant, and in need of saving. Taaffe considers her work with Black girls to be a purposeful attempt to broaden the aperture into Girlhood Studies and Education by being intentionally inclusive of a Black girlhood that matters. Taaffe is the author of several book chapters on Black girlhood and the use of photography as a disruptive qualitative method in education. She received her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign. She is currently working on her book project, Black Girl Gaze: A Visual (Re)membering of Black Girlhood as an Act of Resistance and is a 2017-2018 recipient of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching Junior Faculty Fellowship.