Taneisha N. Means

Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair

Taneisha N. Means is an Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Her research and teaching interests are in Racial and Ethnic Politics, Judicial Politics, and American Political Behavior and Identities. She combines both qualitative and quantitative methods to answer research questions at the intersection of race and judicial politics. Her current research projects examine the political identities and behaviors of 21st century black US judges.

BA, John Carroll University; MA, PhD, Duke University
At Vassar since 2016


Rockefeller Hall
Box 184
By appointment

Research and Academic Interests

Judicial Politics
Media and Politics
Political Behavior and Identities
Racial and Ethnic Politics, especially Black Politics
Women and Politics

Departments and Programs

Selected Publications

Ayee, Gloria Y.A., Jessica D. Johnson Carew, Taneisha N. Means, Alicia M. Reyes-Barrientez, and Nura A. Sediqe. (Accepted; Forthcoming in Politics & Gender). “White House, Black Mother: Michelle Obama and the Politics of Black Motherhood.”

Means, Taneisha N., Kaitlin Prado, and Andrew Eslich. (Accepted; Forthcoming). “Judicial Diversity and Lawmaking in the Federal Judiciary.” In Lee D. Walker and Susan Sterett (Eds.), Law and Courts. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Cramer, Renee Ann, Nikol G. Alexander Floyd, and Taneisha N. Means. (2018). “Balance is a Fallacy: Striving for and Supporting a Life with Integrity.” PS: Political Science & Politics.

McClain, Paula D., Gloria Y. Ayee, Taneisha N. Means, Alicia Reyes-Barrientez, and Nura Sedique. (2016). “Race, Power, and Knowledge: Tracing the Roots of Exclusion in the Development of Political Science in the United States.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 4(3): 467-482.

Grants, Fellowships, Honors, Awards

Selected Fellowships, Honors, and Awards since 2017:

Class of 1951 Endowed Assistant Professorship 2018-Present

Research Award ($1,000), Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement 2018

SRI Fellow, Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice Network’s Summer Research Institute (SRI) at

Rutgers University-Newark 2018

Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement Scholar, Duke University 2017-2019


Selected grants since 2017:

Professor Means Receives Research Grant from the New Perspectives in Studies of American Governance Program
Taneisha Means, Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair, received a research grant from the New Perspectives in Studies of American Governance program, a partnership between American University, Purdue University and the Hewlett Foundation’s US Democracy program.

Law and Social Sciences Conference Award #1916630 (Pending), National Science Foundation 2019

Law and Social Sciences Research Grant #1825102 ($149,731), National Science Foundation 2018

Ford Scholars Program Grant ($1,750), Vassar College 2018

Centennial Grant for Supplemental Research Support ($2,500), American Political Science Association 2017

Congressional Research Grant ($3,500), The Dirksen Congressional Center 2017

In the Media

Fourteen first-year students got a jump on their college careers this summer as members of the Summer Immersion in the Liberal Arts program sponsored by Vassar’s Engaged Pluralism Initiative (EPI). The young men and women, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, spent four weeks on campus taking specially designed, credit-bearing courses, learning about resources the college offers, and taking part in service-based learning in the Poughkeepsie area.


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