As a kid, I was often the only black girl in my classrooms. Growing up as an “outsider within” my mostly white schools shaped my critical interest in how race, class, and gender stratify social life. I gained the tools to understand my experiences as an undergraduate at Spelman College, where I became politicized as a Black feminist.
I am a currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Broadly, my research projects theorize bodies as mediums of culture, or the physical and symbolic form through which race, class, and gender hierarchies, social control, and social etiquette are played out. My past work on the sociology of sport and my current project on Black beauty politics center the body to examine the complexity, multiplicity, and particularity of Black practices from an intersectional feminist perspective.
My dissertation, “Each New Curl Howling a War Cry: Black Women and Embodied Racial Formation” examines how women of African descent use consumer-based strategies to negotiate a politicized trend of wearing un- straightened kinky and curly hair with disparate expectations of state institutions, employers, family members, and romantic partners. This work has allowed me to conduct funded ethnography in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Valencia, Madrid, Johannesburg and Cape Town. An early manuscript of my dissertation won the Kerckhoff Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Gender Studies at USC. You can check out my CV and some of my writing for popular media outlets on this site. The book manuscript for this project is in progress.
My overarching goal is to inform the development of just, equitable, and human-centered political strategies, design, media, scholarship, and artwork that reflect the situated knowledges and needs of those marginalized by race, class, and/or gender. In that pursuit, I recently co-founded a public sociology organization that creates research-based children's book about intersectionality.
When I'm not researching or writing, I enjoy hiking, practicing yoga, reading novels and exploring new art mediums.
I began my doctoral program at the University of Southern California as a Provost Fellow in the fall of 2012, after graduating from Spelman College summa cum laude. I earned my M.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Gender Studies from USC in 2015. I am also a graduate of the Black European Summer School, the International Decolonial Black Feminism School, a UNCF/Mellon-Mays Fellow, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.