About me



20170208_150620Originally hailing from a small Central Texas town, Eshe has spent the last 12 years of her life living, working, and playing in Austin, TX. She has a bachelors degree in Sociology and African-American Studies and received both her masters and doctoral degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. The concentration for her graduate studies focused on the African Diaspora and she also received a portfolio in Women and Gender Studies. Over the years, Dr. Cole has conducted research on alternatives to incarceration for mothers and their children in both Texas and New York as well as maternal and infant mortality for Black women nationally and in Texas.  She has worked for both the state and local government assisting with research and program development, served as a consultant and contractor to a number of non-profits, and has extensive experience with community engagement, training, and group facilitation. She has spent the last 8 years devoting her time to community and social justice activism centered on the needs of poor and working class mothers and women of color in Austin, TX and is passionate about reproductive justice work. Eshe is a trained birth educator and birth companion (doula). In her free time, Eshe likes to read, write, watch movies, try new recipes from the food network, and spend time with family and friends. She has sung in two local bands in Austin and enjoys having dance parties with her two children who are 7 and 1.


PhD Cultural Anthropology, African Diaspora Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

M.A. Cultural Anthropology, African Diaspora Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

B.A. Sociology and African-American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

Awards and Honors

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP) Recipient

Ford Foundation Honorable Mention

Activism Summer Research Grant

Thematic Graduate Fellowship

Graduate School Diversity Fellowship

Terry Foundation Scholarship (Full Academic Scholarship)


Cole, Haile. “A Love Letter for my Daughter: Love as a Political Act” in Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth an Anthology. Ed. Julia C. Oparah, and Alicia D. Bonaparte. 2016.

Cole, Haile and Luciane Rocha. “Losing our Children: (Un)Natural Disasters and Mothering in the African Diaspora.” (forthcoming)

Professional Conferences and Presentations

 2016    The Biopolitics of Gendered ‘Blackness’:  Transnational Perspectives on Women, Race, and Health. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. November 16-20.

2016     Invited Speaker. “State of Black Women’s Entrepreneurship.” Fireside chat with Carla Harris, Chair of the National Women’s Business Council. NWBC Public Meeting. Atlanta, GA. August 2.

2016    Invited Panelist. “Minority Report: The Criminalization of Marginalized Populations” LBJ School of Public Affairs. Austin, TX. Feb. 23.

2014     Invited Speaker. National Council of Negro Women, Austin Chapter-Women and Girls of Color Conference. Austin, TX. November 1.

2014     Cole, Haile and Kellee Coleman. “Dying to Live: Maternal and Infant Health Disparities for Black Women.” Workshop to be presented at the Black Women’s Health Conference. Tulane University. New Orleans, LA. June 13-14

2014     Cole, Haile. “Sankofa, History, Memory: (Re)Conceptualizing Black Women’s Maternal Health Disparities.” Paper to be presented at (Re)Membering the Body:  21st Annual Conference on Emerging Scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies. The University of Texas. Austin, TX. March 20-21.

2013     Panelist. “Communications for Action with High Risk Populations.” Children’s Optimal Health Birth Outcomes Summit. Austin, TX. November 12.

2013     Cole, Haile. “(Re)Building Community and (Re)Creating Alternatives: Black Women and Mass Incarceration. Rethinking Prisons Conference. Vanderbilt University. Nashville, Tennessee. May 3-5.

2012     Cole, Haile. “Examining Community Based Alternatives as a Response to the Women’s Growing Incarceration.” Paper presented at the Rethinking Power & Resistance: Gender & Human Rights from Texas to the Transnational Americas Conference. University of Texas. Austin, TX. October 5-6.

2012     Cole, Haile. “Revolutionary Motherhood: Reflections on the Transformative Potentialities of Motherhood.” Paper presented at the Southeastern Women Studies Association Conference. George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. March 29-31.

2011     Cole, Haile E. “Anthropology and Prison: Ethnography in States of Confinement.” Paper presented at the New Directions in Anthropology Conference. University of Texas. Austin, TX. April 29-30.                                            

2011     Cole, Haile E. “Black Motherhood: Maternity in the Texas Prison System.” Paper presented at the Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide Conference. University of California. Riverside, CA. March 10-12.