Gwendolyn Purifoye joins core Kroc Institute faculty

Author: Hannah Heinzekehr

Gwendolyn Purifoye has joined the core faculty of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies as assistant professor of racial justice and conflict transformation. She is one of seven new faculty members appointed by the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs at the start of the new academic year. Purifoye will also be a faculty fellow of the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights.

Purifoye’s research investigates how material infrastructures, transportation systems, and spatiality shape the experiences of racially and class-marginalized individuals and communities. An urban ethnographer, Purifoye has conducted extensive fieldwork in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Newark, where she examines the lived experiences of Black and Brown people in public places and neighborhoods.

“I look at infrastructural violence and how it plays out in interactions and spaces, and the physicality and materiality of peace, as well,” said Purifoye. 

Purifoye’s forthcoming first book, Race in Motion: Public Transportation and Restricted Mobile Spaces (under contract with NYU Press) uses ethnographic and archival data to examine how public transportation is used to support persistent inequalities and inequities that are raced, spatial, material, social, and embodied. 

Purifoye’s hiring is part of the Kroc Institute’s expanding focus on intersectionality and race, growing out of commitments in the Institute’s 2018-2023 strategic plan

“We are thrilled that Gwendoyln is joining the Kroc Institute,” said Erin Corcoran, acting director and executive director of the Kroc Institute and associate teaching professor at the Keough School. “Her work is both interdisciplinary and intersectional, and she provides important insights on race, mobility and human dignity that will inform the field of peace studies and continue to expand a core commitment at the Institute of working toward racial justice and conflict transformation.”

Prior to joining the Kroc Institute, Purifoye held a visiting faculty fellowship at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. While at Brown, she researched how Blacks are experiencing the current redevelopment boom in Newark after enduring decades of widespread systemic racism and disinvestment. 

She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Loyola University Chicago.

“I’m excited about the ways the main theme of my research aligns with the work being done at the Kroc Institute and Keough School,” said Purifoye. “I want to continue to explore what it means for individuals to be living with everyday violence, and  why we don’t have more peace.” 

This story includes excerpts from an original story posted at by Renée LaReau.