Barbara Ransby is a Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she has served as director of GWS for the past three years.

Dr. Ransby is a writer, historian, and longtime activist. She has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues on the topics of 20th century African American history, social movements, Black women's (and feminist) history, African American and Black radicalism. She is most notably the author of the award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. The book won eight awards from the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and other professional organizations. Dr. Ransby received the prestigious Catherine Prelinger Scholarship Award for her overall contributions to women's history. She is currently completing a biography of anthropologist and anti-colonial activist Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson to be published by Yale University Press in 2012.

Dr. Ransby writes for the Progressive Media Project and other popular publications, and serves on the editorial board of the London-based journal Race and Class and the editorial advisory board of the online publication The Black Commentator. She is on the academic advisory committee of Ms. Magazine, the national advisory committee of Imagining America, and is co-chair of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council.