Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley III, Ph.D.
Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley III, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Researcher, Public Speaker, Political Analyst, Media Consultant

"What makes one an intellectual is the drive to learn, to question, to understand, to criticize, not as a means to an end but as an end in itself. An intellectual believes in criticism in the purest sense of the word, and understands that to be a critic is not necessarily to be an opponent; an intellectual, rather, is an observer willing and able to use rational faculties to distinguish wisdom from folly. "  — Stephen L. Carter, Confessions of an Affirmative Action Baby

Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley, III a political scientist, an author, political consultant, and an aspiring university president, is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Dr. Riley’s motto is as follows “as academics we must challenge our students to be critical thinkers, analytical writers, and agents of reform in social justice.” 

He is native of the Mississippi Delta having been born and raised in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Dr. Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2008 at Mississippi Valley State University. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in Political Science from Jackson State University in 2010. Dr. Riley continued his education at the University of Mississippi where he earned a master’s and Doctorate of Philosophy in political science with a specialization in American Politics and International Relations in 2014. 

Dr. Riley has teaching and research interests in Race Politics, Black Politics, Congressional Representation, Racial Attitudes, American Government, Political Marginalization, Inequality, and Introduction to Africana Studies.

Dr. Riley’s research explores the degree to which African American political representation impacts the racial attitudes and political behavior of whites. His research investigates both the substantive and symbolic benefits of black descriptive representation. Dr. Riley’s research has sparked regional, national, and international interest. Dr. Riley’s forthcoming publication Explaining White Support for Donald Trump: Economic Anxiety or Racial Predispositions? has been presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of World Wide African Diaspora in Seville, Spain. Dr. Riley has co-authored a book chapter entitled “The Great Divider: Obama’s Influence on Trust in Government and Racial Attitudes” which was published in an edited volume entitled How the Obama Presidency Changed the Political Landscape. He is currently writing a book entitled “Mississippi Goddamn: Why Black Politicians have not used their political capital to transform the Mississippi Delta.” This book investigates the political and institutional challenges faced by black politicians in their quest to represent black constituencies substantively.