I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of African & African Diaspora Studies and the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies. My scholarship and teaching are concerned with how racialized peoples and landscapes are devalued in capitalism and the abolitional possibilities of collective struggle. My work addresses how race and waste are interwoven in contemporary racial capitalism and capitalist entanglements with the state and science.
My book manuscript in progress, Toxic Alchemy: Race and Waste in Industrial Capitalism, theorizes the relationship of Blackness to industrial capitalism through an ethnographically grounded examination of aluminum smelting in the Southern US company town of Badin, North Carolina. I argue that “racialized toxicity” offers an intimate exploration of how racial capitalism operates across scales – at once macrostructural, enabling collusion between capital, state and science, and microscopic, entangling Black bodies, ecologies and life itself into the infrastructures of modernity.
As a Critical Performance Ethnographer, I theorize from the experiences of racialized communities living in toxic environments, and utilize my research skills to support their struggles for justice. I am particularly interested in collective knowledge production that bridges critical thought and grassroots organizing, to amplify the transformative possibilities of scholarship.
At UT Austin, I teach courses on racial capitalism, environmental justice, feminist geopolitics, and science studies. I am a core faculty member of the University of Texas Feminist Geography Research Collective, and affiliated with the John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies, the Department of Geography & the Environment, and the Department of American Studies.
Learn more about my research here.
Media & News
Received 2021 Lucia, John and Melissa Gilbert Teaching Excellence Award in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Texas, Austin.
“An Intimate Inventory of Race and Waste” featured and discussed extensively in Undark.
GeoHealth Article discussed and featured in Eos, National Geographic, and NC Policy Watch.
“Storytelling the Elements” with Claire Alexandre, Project Row Houses. December 1, 2021.
The Feminist Geography Collective FLOCK, of which I am a member, published “Making a Zine, Building a Feminist Collective” in ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies.
“Rethinking difference in India through racialization” (2021), eds. Jesús F. Cháirez-Garza, Mabel Denzin Gergan, Malini Ranganathan & Pavithra Vasudevan. Special Issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies.
The authors in this special issue, including the editors, forward a nuanced exposition of how the production of racial difference in India buttresses and is reproduced through Hindu nationalist, casteist, and colonial projects that generate tacit or explicit consent for continued violence against racialized others.
“Natural Gas Gathering and Transmission Pipelines and Social Vulnerability in the United States” (2021), co-authored with Ryan E. Emanuel, Martina Angela Caretta, and Louie Rivers III
We analyzed publicly-available datasets and found that the existing network of natural gas pipelines in the US is concentrated more heavily in counties where people experience high levels of social vulnerability than in counties where social vulnerability is low. Our work reiterates a need for researchers and decision-makers to look closely at these impacts, especially in light of environmental justice policy, to understand the broader societal costs of oil and gas infrastructure.
“Erasure.” An A to Z of Shadow Places Concepts (2020), co-authored with Kriti Sharma
In the spirit of collaboration that the collection calls for, this co-authored works looks at crystals and sacred stones in the context of capitalistic societies that care for precious metals but not for their preciousness as inanimate, earthly material. The collection as a whole looks at “shadow places” (Val Plumwood, 2008) as a way to examine the interrelation between extraction, climate change, and erasure. Ranging from classic academic reviews to creative writing, each contribution offers insights into justice and the environment.
“The Domestic Geopolitics of Racial Capitalism,” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (2020), co-authored with Sara Smith
In this paper, we analyze the racialized burden of toxicity in the US as a case study of what we call “domestic geopolitics.” Drawing on the case studies of Badin, North Carolina, and Flint, Michigan, we argue that maintaining life in conditions of racialized toxicity is not only a matter of survival, but also a geopolitical praxis. We propose the term domestic geopolitics to describe a reconceived feminist geopolitics integrating an analysis of Black geographies as a domestic form of colonialism, with an expanded understanding of domesticity as political work. We develop the domestic geopolitics framework based on the dual meaning of domestic: the inward facing geopolitics of racialization and the resistance embodied in domestic labors of maintaining life, home, and community. Drawing on Black feminist scholars, we describe three categories of social reproductive labor in conditions of racialized toxicity: the labor of keeping wake, the labor of tactical expertise, and the labor of revolutionary mothering. We argue that Black survival struggles exemplify a domestic geopolitics of everyday warfare against racial capitalism’s onslaught.