Melissa Nobles is the Department Head, and the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Nobles' current research is focused on constructing a database of racial murders in the American South, 1930–1954. Working closely as a faculty collaborator and advisory board member of Northeastern Law School's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice law clinic, Nobles has conducted extensive archival research, unearthing understudied and more often, unknown racial murders and contributing to several legal investigations. She is the author of two books, Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics (Stanford University Press, 2000), The Politics of Official Apologies, (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and co-editor with Jun-Hyeok Kwak of Inherited Responsibility and Historical Reconciliation in East Asia (Routledge Press, 2013). Her work has also appeared in the Annual Review of Political Science, Daedalus, American Journal of Public Health, and several edited books. She is currently working on a book manuscript, provisionally titled "The End of Law," based on her research on racial violence in the "Jim Crow" U.S. South.
Nobles is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in History. She received her MA and PhD in Political Science from Yale University. Nobles has held fellowships at Boston University's Institute for Race and Social Division and Harvard University's Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study. She has served on the editorial boards of Polity, American Political Science Review, and currently serves on the editorial boards of Perspectives on Politics. Nobles is also involved in faculty governance at MIT and beyond, serving as the Associate Chair of the MIT Faculty from 2007–2009 and Vice-President of the American Political Science Association.