Patricia Turner

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Patricia A. Turner
Nationality American
Genre Quilt History

Patricia A. Turner, Ph.D, a folklorist, author and academic, is the executive director of The Reinvention Center and the Vice Provost, Undergraduate Education for UCLA.[1] She lives in Los Angeles, California.


Turner has a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York, Oneonta; and a master's degree and doctorate in rhetoric from UC Berkeley.

She began her academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston Black Studies Department, and then transferred to the University of California, Davis, where she moved from assistant professor to professor of the African-American and African studies program, and then became Interim Dean of the Division of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies. From 2006 to 2013 she was the Vice Provost, Undergraduate Education for that university.[2] Turner has served as a consulting scholar for several documentaries. She conducted research for and appeared on camera in Marlon Riggs' Ethnic Notions, which won an Emmy Award in 1989 for best research in a documentary.

She also conducted research for and appeared on camera in the 1992 Peabody Award-winning film Color Adjustment. Most recently, she was interviewed for a film on quilt artist Riché Richardson entitled Portrait of the Artist: Riché Richardson.[3]

Turner has been interviewed for stories in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and many other prominent publications. She has been interviewed on the radio for features on such programs as Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, and All Things Considered. She has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, the CBS Evening News, and The O'Reilly Factor. In addition, her book I Heard It Through the Grapevine inspired a story on ABC's 20/20.[4]

Quilt history[edit]

Turner was greatly influenced in 1986 when she saw photographs of Alabama Black Belt quilters taken by Roland L. Freeman, shown in that year's catalog for the Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C. There, as a young folklorist, Turner spent two weeks with Alabama quilters who participated in the festival and with Gladys-Marie Fry, who facilitated public workshops with the quilters. Turner uses quilts to examine African American culture.[5]

Turner wrote Crafted Lives, an in-depth in depth profile of nine African American quilters (young to old, male and female) from Alaska to the Southern states. In the book she also deconstructed issues surrounding Underground Railroad quilts using folklorist tools as well as exploring who determines the economic and artistic value of quilts, such as the quilts of Gee's Bend.

She curated "From Functional to Fancy: An Eastville Quilt Sampler" (2009) at the Eastville Community Historical Society in Sag Harbor, New York. On display were quilts by Riche Richarson, Ph.D, Marion Coleman, Dolores Vitero Presley and the Alabama Freedom Quilting Bee.

Turner is a quilter herself and frequently lectures on quilt culture.


  • Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters by Patricia A. Turner (2009)
  • Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America by Gary Alan Fine and Patricia A. Turner (2004)
  • Ceramic Uncles and Celluloid Mammies: Black Images and Their Influence on Culture by Patricia A. Turner (2002)
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture by Patricia A. Turner (1994)


  • "From Layfayette to Barack Obama: Past and Future In a Quilt Exhibit." Transatlantica: Revue D 'Etude Americains 2009/1
  • "The Rise and Fall of Eliza Harris: From Novel to Tom Shows to Quilts." Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture 2007,[6]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ UCLA Newsroom
  2. ^ Bayview Alliance
  3. ^ Who We Are
  4. ^ Who We Are The Reinvention Center Biography
  5. ^ Crafted Lives, pages 1- 9.
  6. ^ The Rise and Fall of Eliza Harris: From Novel to Tom Shows to Quilts Virginia EDU