Greetings! I am an assistant professor in the Departments of Gender and Women's Studies and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
My research situates the relationship between race and gender at the center of gender and women’s studies and political theory. I do so to demonstrate how identity and difference affect the distribution of power. I pay particular attention to how black people articulate their gendered and racialized identifications via popular and scholarly conversations about a range of topics including public schools, gay marriage, black female respectability, and police brutality. My approach is animated by intersectionality - an analytical framework that highlights how multiple oppressions mutually construct each other. While intersectionality is traditionally defined as feminist, I demonstrate how and why social groups' intersectionally informed claims about their experience of oppression can be used to support an array of political agendas. My research also reveals how to foster democratic orientations and coalitions among those who use intersectionality for diverse political ends.
My first book, In a Classroom of their Own: The Intersection of Race and Feminist Politics in All-Black Male Schools, explores the simultaneously anti-racist and patriarchal politics at work in the nationwide effort to establish separate schools for black boys. In a Classroom of their Own is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press (May 2018). I am presently writing a new book, Black Ladies and the Art of Resistance: Intellectuals, Athletes, and Beauty Queens, that explores how self-defined black ladies in the African diaspora use hyper-feminine grooming and demeanor to cast themselves as effective civic and political leaders in the fight against racism.
I received my doctorate in political theory from the University of Chicago in 2009. I also have a master's degree in development studies, with a concentration in gender and development, from the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) as well as an undergraduate degree in political science and black studies from Amherst College.