Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
I am an assistant professor of African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and a visual artist. I teach courses on critical race theory, feminist theory, black social movements in the Americas, women’s social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as race and environmental politics in the African Diaspora. I am a social anthropologist and am currently completing a book entitled To Defend this Sunrise: Black Women’s Activism and the Geography of Race in Nicaragua, which examines how black women activists have resisted historical and contemporary patterns of racialized state violence, economic exclusion, territorial dispossession, and political repression from the 19th century to the present. Specifically it considers how black women engage in regional, national, and transnational modes of activism to remap the nation’s racial order under conditions of increasing economic precarity and autocratic state rule. I have published work in American Anthropologist, the Bulletin of Latin American Research, the Journal of Women, Gender, and Families of Color, make/shift: feminisms in motion, and Asterix.
In addition to my scholarly work, I am a practicing visual and conceptual artist. My work examines the complexities of place, ecology, memory, and the constant search for “home.” Specifically I am interested in understanding the ways that we inhabit place – through migration, ancestry, and shared social memory -- and how places inhabit us. This interplay between landscapes and human subjectivity is evident in the ways that I use my own body as a staging ground for re-membering my families’ experiences of loss, dispossession and the persistent struggle to make a place for oneself in the world. I examine these questions through the experiences of female ancestors and elders whose stories are often disappeared in family histories and official historical narratives. See my work at courtneydesireemorris.com.