Cassi Pittman Claytor

Associate Professor

Mather Memorial Building 223E

Other Information

Education: B.A. University of Pennsylvania, 2005
Ph.D. Harvard University, 2012

CASSI PITTMAN CLAYTOR is an associate professor of sociology. Her research focuses on middle-class Blacks’ financial lives. Using qualitative methods her work uncovers how contemporary processes of social exclusion and inequality function to disadvantage even those racial minorities who have access to economic and cultural capital.

Currently Pittman Claytor is launching a new line of research that focuses on middle-class Blacks’ attitudes and perceptions of climate change and their sustainability-driven consumption. It will also investigate middle-class Blacks’ understandings and perceptions of environmental racism. In a related project, she is collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of scholars here at CWRU that examines and compares attitudes and perceptions of climate change held by members of the university community (faculty, staff, senior administrators, and students) and those of residents in the adjacent majority Black communities.

In Pittman Claytor’s book Black Privilege: Modern Middle-Class Blacks with Credentials and Cash to Spend (Stanford University Press), she enriches our understanding of the Black middle class, focusing particularly on their economic reality and experiences as consumers. She has investigated Blacks’ experiences “shopping while Black” in retail settings, as well as their experiences of discrimination in the mortgage market.

In 2019 Sephora, Inc. brought Pittman Claytor on board in their effort to systematically study the problem of retail racism. She served as the research lead, designing, and assisting in the orchestration of a first-of-its-kind, national study of racial bias and exclusionary treatment in retail settings. In recognition of her work, Pittman Claytor was named as one of 100 People Transforming Business by Business Insider.

While an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University, she has been awarded the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Early Career Enhancement Fellowship and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research’s Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University. Pittman Claytor received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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