Session 1

Jordana Matlon (American University)

Jordanna Matlon is Assistant Professor at the School of International Service, American University. As an urban sociologist, her research examines the livelihoods and lifestyles of men on the African urban periphery. She is broadly interested in questions of race and belonging in Africa and the African diaspora, and the ways “blackness” as a signifier—and in its intersection with gender, class, and citizenship—illuminates understandings of popular culture, postcoloniality, and neoliberalism in the contemporary city. Her book manuscript (in progress) is tentatively titled, Story of a minor term: Racial capitalism and imaginaries of black masculinity from colonialism to crisis.

Danielle Purifoy (Duke University)

Danielle Purifoy is a lawyer and a current Ph.D candidate in Environmental Politics and African American Studies at Duke University. She completed a BA in English and Political Science from Vassar College and a JD from Harvard Law School. Her current research focuses on the intersection of racial segregation and local political geography in the production of environmental inequality in North Carolina. She is also interested in the historic sociopolitical roots of contemporary environmental conditions in the U.S. South.

Danielle writes for multiple audiences, including lawyers, academics, policy advocates, and the general public. She is an editor for Scalawag, a magazine devoted to Southern politics and culture, a board member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, and the co-creator, with visual artist Torkwase Dyson, of In Conditions of Fresh Water, a multimedia black spatial history project.

Mia White (The New School)

Kirstie Dorr (UC San Diego)

Dr. Kirstie Dorr is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and an affiliate of the Critical Gender Studies and Latin American Studies programs at the University of California, San Diego. Her forthcoming book, On Site in Sound: Performance Geographies in América Latina (Duke University Press, 2018) examines the hemispheric circulation of South American musics via informal cultural and economic networks to contemplate the dynamic, mutually-animating relationship between sonic texts and spatial contexts. Professor Dorr’s work has appeared in scholarly periodicals including Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Treva Ellison (Dartmouth)

Treva Ellison is committed troublemaker, prison abolitionist, amateur herbalist, and talented grilled cheese chef. Treva works as an Assistant Professor of Geography and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth College and their research interests are trans and queer historiography, black geographies, and history and theories of the carceral state. Treva’s writing can be found in places such as Transgender Studies Quarterly, C Magazine, Feminist Wire, and Scholar and Feminist Online. Treva is currently working on their manuscript project, Flex Zones, which traces the articulation of trans and queer criminality in relation to the racialization of space, and historicizes queer activism and advocacy and its shifting relationship to the carceral state from 1970 through 1990. Treva earned their doctorate in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in 2015.

Ronald Morrison (Parsons School for Design)

Ron Morrison is a designer, artist, and urbanist. Their practice works to create strategies using art and design that help people understand how urban systems work and how to act within their fissures and inconsistencies. From these dissonant spaces we learn to rework and retune systems towards an increased potential for collaboration and action. With a strong background in community development and social advocacy, they believe that people should have full access to shaping their cities and communities and sees design as a medium for creating knowledge and moving beyond paralysis in the face of complexity. From building open source platforms to upend the continued practice of solitary confinement to crafting community based archives to combat gentrification, their work investigates cartographies of slow violence, black spatial imaginaries, and embodied data.

They have worked with design teams that implemented projects in New Orleans, Ghana, Colombia, Ethiopia, New York, and Venice and have had work featured in AIA New York, Project Row Houses, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Ron holds degrees in Psychology and Gender Studies, as well as a graduate degree in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design. They currently teach in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design.

Imani Robinson (Independent)

Imani Robinson is a London born and based British-Caribbean/African-American organiser, writer and curator. Her work focuses on resistance, liberation and Blackness in the aesthetic, poetic, material, psychological and philosophical realms. Imani works to build radical consciousness through movement-building, art, popular education and dialogue and is currently completing an MA in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is a member of sorryyoufeeluncomfortable Collective and UK Black Lives Matter.

session 2

Tianna Paschel (Moderator, UC Berkeley)

Kenton Card (UCLA)

Kenton Card is a PhD Student in Urban Planning at UCLA and previously a Research Fellow with the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. At UCLA he is an advisor to the Institute on Inequality and Democracy and an Editor of Critical Planning Journal. Kenton's broad intellectual interests include housing struggles, urban political economy, and racial capitalism. He has worked and/or volunteered with Housing California, The Planning and Conservation League, The Residents United Network and The Los Angeles Tenants Union.

Iman Mohamed (Harvard)

Iman A. Mohamed is a Ph.D. student in African History at Harvard University. Her research examines the interactions between colonial, customary, and Islamic legal orders and practices in Somalia Italiana and post-colonial Somalia.

Ilyas Abukar (University of Maryland)

Ilyas Omar Abukar is based at the University of Maryland, College Park as a Phd Candidate in American Studies. He is writing a dissertation, A People Without Means, that thinks through what it means to be a rescued refugee from Africa in America. He recently completed a dissertation writing fellowship as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ilyas received a BA degree in Comparative Literature and a minor in English from Penn State University 2011. Ilyas loves television, photography, and words. Ilyas is the best!

Diana Negrin (University of San Francisco)

Diana Negrín is a human geographer with a focus on race, space and social movements in Mexico and California. She grew up between Guadalajara, Mexico and the East Bay and was profoundly shaped by her involvement as a youth organizer in what would later become the Schools Not Jails network. Since 2003 Diana has conducted ethnographic and archival research in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit with a primary focus on the social activism of Wixárika indigenous university students and professionals. Her scholarship engages human and cultural geography, critical race theory, cultural studies, political ecology and urban studies. Diana's current research examines the opportunities and challenges of critical and situated solidarities that cross racial and geographic boundaries.

Anna Brand (UC Berkeley)

Dr. Anna Livia Brand joined the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley this fall as an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning. Her research focuses on the intersection of race and space, specifically looking at historic black mecca neighborhoods and how they change through processes of gentrification and resistance. Her comparative research focuses on cities in the American North and South, including New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and New York. This work highlights the ongoing spatial impacts of racial processes and resistance to these processes over time and evaluates the role that urban planning and design can play in shaping more racially just futures.

Solange Muñoz (University of Tennessee)

Solange Muñoz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her research interests center on urban inequality and marginalization with specific focus on the impact of urban development and neoliberal policies on the urban poor and communities of color. Her work is concerned with identifying and further understanding the ways that poor and traditionally marginalized communities routinely experience and resist urban development, gentrification and state policies and practices that work to marginalize and displace them. As a Latin Americanist and a human geographer, she also works on constructions of race and racism, employing a comparative approach to understand the multiple ways that race and racism is employed and experienced in different countries throughout the Americas, including the United States.

Kishi Animashaun Ducre (Syracuse University)

Kishi Animashaun Ducre is Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies (AAS) at Syracuse University and author of A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse and co-editor of Addressing Environmental and Food Justice toward Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Poisoning and Imprisoning Youth. She also served as 2011 Fulbright Scholar at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies – St. Augustine. She received her PhD in the Environmental Justice Program of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in 2005. Kishi has been a committed advocate for environmental justice for over two decades. Her first foray in environmental activism was as a Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace in the 1990’s. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of CNY Fair Housing. Her latest writing project is the development of a book manuscript that expands upon her theoretical perspectives on the Black Feminist spatial imagination. It features case studies of the lives and influences of three women of the African diaspora: Harriett Tubman (North America), Wangari Maathai (Kenya), and Jamaica Kincaid (Caribbean).

session 3

Sara Kaplan (UC San Diego)

Sara Clarke Kaplan is an associate professor of Ethnic Studies and Director of Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She is also a founder of UCSD’s Black Studies Project, an interdisciplinary research collaborative. A scholar of feminist and queer theory and African Diaspora literary and cultural production, her work has appeared in a number of journals, including American Quarterly, American Literary History, Callaloo, TDR, and the Journal of Black Women, Gender, and Families. Her book, The Black Reproductive: Feminism and the Politics of Freedom is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

Vanessa Valdes (The City College of New York)

Vanessa K. Valdés is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The City College of New York – CUNY. Her research interests include comparative studies of the literatures of the Americas, with a focus written by peoples of African descent. She serves as Book Review Editor of sx salon, the digital component of Small Axe. She is the editor of Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora (2012) and The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies (2012). She is the author of Oshun's Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas (2014) and Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (2017).

Ola Mohammed (York University)

Ola Mohammed is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University in Toronto, Ontario Canada as well as the Co-Chair of the York University Black Graduate Students’ Collective. Her doctoral research examines the complications and slipperiness of the black diasporic sonic practices within Canada and thinks through popular music, particularly hip-hop music and R&B as sites where all of these things—nation, power, culture, history and identity—come together and allow us to consider the ear as a path into the processes of black diasporic invention and reinvention.

Rashad Shabazz (Arizona State University)

Brandi Summers (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Brandi Thompson Summers, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of African American Studies and Associate Director of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, her MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and her BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Summers’ research and teaching interests focus on race, gender, urban aesthetics, fashion, media studies, and visual culture. In particular, her work interrogates identity, memory, place, and history and how planning and urban design practices are implicated in the spacialization of race and racism. Her forthcoming book project, Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press), explores the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in Washington, D.C. She has written several essays that analyze the relationship between race, aesthetics, urbanity, and power that appear in both academic and popular publications—Capital Dilemma; Race Post Race (an anthology forthcoming from Duke University Press); The Sociologist; and Public Books.

Ampson Hagan (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

session 4

Lisa Bates (Portland State University)

Associate Professor, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

Sharita Towne (Pacific Northwest College of Art)

Assistant Professor

Bates and Towne, as the Black Life Experiential Research Group, are an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art and urban planning. In shifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live and breathe.

Lindsey Dillon (UC Santa Cruz)

Lindsey Dillon is an geographer and Assistant Professor in Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on environmental and health justice social movements in the San Francisco Bay Area, from the 1960s to present. At UCSC she serves on the steering committee of the Science and Justice Research Center. After the U.S. elections in November 2016, she co-founded the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) to respond to the new administration's anti-science and environmental policies.

Jessica Kenyatta Walker (UC Davis)

Jessica Kenyatta Walker is a Lecturer in the American Studies Program at The University of California, Berkeley. Her research bridges the fields of African American material culture, Black feminist theory, and cultural landscape theory. Her current research project explores the genealogies of Black cultural products like soul food and how their articulation relies on complex figurations and performances of Black womanhood, citizenship, health, domesticity, and racial authenticity. She received her PhD in American Studies and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from The University of Maryland, College Park.

C.N.E. Corbin (UC Berkeley)

C.N.E. Corbin is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management within the Division of Society & Environment. Corbin’s research examines the relationships between society and nature within the built environment by investigating the concept of the green city within the United States. As an urban environmentalist and political ecologist her work focuses on how environmental policies and practices in cities impact low-income neighborhoods and communities of color and their access to public green spaces, urban nature. She uses media as a tool of investigation to understand how visual media represents and influences environmental thought and spatial understandings within the urban landscape. The aim of her research is to illuminate how historical processes of urbanization and current urban environmental policies, at scale, are impacting the lived experiences of the most vulnerable residents right now, and what that could mean for future populations living in green cities.

Judith Madera (Wake Forest University)

Judith Madera is Associate Professor of African American Literature at Wake Forest University with a focus on spatial humanities and Caribbean studies. She is also affiliated faculty in Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently at work on a book, On Edge Effects: Race and Edge Knowledge in the Age of Abolition.Her book, Black Atlas: Geography and Flow in Nineteenth-Century African American Literature was published by Duke University Press in 2015. Recent work has also appeared in WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly; the Journal of American History; ELN; The Radical History Review; Discourse; and Nineteenth-Century Prose.

Todne Thomas (Harvard Divinity School)

Todne Thomas is an Assistant Professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School and a Radcliffe Institute Suzanne Young Marry Assistant Professor. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her research is located at the crossroads of the anthropology of Christianity, the anthropology of kinship, and critical race and ethnic studies. She has published in the Journal of African American Studies, the Journal of Africana Religions, and Anthropology and Humanism about the gendered and interpretive politics of Afro-Protestant religious sociality. She has also co-edited and contributed to New Directions in Spiritual Kinship: Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions—which examines religious sociality as a framework for comparative religious study—and is currently completing Family beyond “The Family: Black Evangelical Faith in Social Context—an ethnographic study that explores how black evangelicals build community and critically engage the social boundaries of ethnicity, race, and heteronormative kinship. Her newest research investigates the ways in which black racial and spatial violence conditioned by neoliberalism mutually displace black sacred spaces in the US.

Session 5

Matt Miller (University of Southern California)

Matt is a first-generation college student hailing from the Bay Area who earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the Stanford University Program in Urban Studies with Honors in 2012 and his Master in City Planning (MCP) degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) City Planning Program in 2014. During and since then, Matt has worked through fellowships and consultancies at governmental agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Stockton and the City of Los Angeles' Economic and Workforce Development Department. His work through these programs, which has been recognized by organizations as varied as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Academies of the Sciences, can be read about in detail in his curriculum vitae (CV) at . Matt is currently pursuing his Ph.D in Urban Planning and Development at the University of Southern California. He is a dual researcher at the Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB) and the Price Center for Social Innovation, a newsletter manager for the Race, Arts and Placemaking (RAP) Program, as well as a periodic teaching assistant for several graduate courses at the broader Sol Price School of Public Policy. His dissertation explores the geography of Black creative entrepreneurship in the United States, both broadly and with particular focus on the South Los Angeles communities in Inglewood and Leimert Park; he seeks to share as a book and articles in academic press. Outside of these pursuits, he enjoys photography, film, fitness and writing, which also influence his professional outlook and approach.

Winter Rae Schneider (UCLA)

Winter Rae Schneider is a proud mother and doctoral candidate in the Department of History at UCLA. She works on the politics of historical representation, law, colonialism and reparations framed within the historical landscapes of the Caribbean and Latin America. She is currently completing her dissertation, "Debts of Independence: Personhood and Property in Haiti and the French Empire," which focuses on the ways that rural Haitian families, ousted white French colonists and the Haitian state leveraged diverging conceptions of property to forge legal and spiritual forms of privilege, belonging and historical narrative after the Haitian Revolution.

Michael Dumas (UC Berkeley)

Michael J. Dumas is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkelely. His research sits at the intersection(s) of the cultural politics of Black education, the cultural political economy of urban education, and the futurity of Black childhood(s). His recent publications have appeared in such journals as Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Race, Ethnicity and Education, and Educational Policy.

Savannah Kilner (UCLA)

Savannah J. Kilner is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Gender Studies at UCLA. Her dissertation, "Pride and Property: Queer Settler Colonialism, Blackness, and the Landed Politics of Solidarity," asks how practices and imaginings of queer space interact with multiple, overlapping modes of dispossession in the U.S. colonial present. Her work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Institute for American Cultures, Bancroft Library, UC Humanities Research Institute, and Center for the Study of Women. She is currently a Predoctoral Fellow at the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and is active in and inspired by movements for housing justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and prison-industrial complex abolition.

Willie Wright (Florida State University)

Willie Jamaal Wright is a Assistant Professor Geography at the Florida State University. He conducts research in the areas of Black geographies, urban geography, and cultural geography.

LaToya Eaves (Middle Tennessee State University)

LaToya E. Eaves is an Assistant Professor in the Global Studies and Human Geography Department. Her research focuses on Black resilience, survivability, and space-making as central sites of geographic knowledge, with specific attention to the American and Global South, sexualities, religious and spiritual spaces, political movements, and the state/legal systems. She received her PhD from Florida International University in Global and Sociocultural Studies, with a major field of Geography. She is founder and chair of the AAG Black Geographies Specialty Group.

keynote speaker

Katherine McKittrick

Katherine McKittrick is an associate professor of gender studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. McKittrick researches in the areas of black studies, anti-colonial studies, studies of race, cultural geographies and gender studies. McKittrick's research is interdisciplinary and attends to the links between theories of liberation, black studies, and cultural production. McKittrick's forthcoming monograph, Dear Science and Other Stories, supported in part by two SSHRC Insight Grants, will look at the promise of science in black poetry, music, and visual art. Part of her ongoing research program attends to the writings of Sylvia Wynter. She is also an editor at Antipode and co-editor of the Duke University Press book series Errantries.

Closing remarks

Chandra Bhimull

Chandra Bhimull is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Colby College. As an anthropologist and historian, she combines archival and ethnographic methods and carries out her fieldwork in the Caribbean, Europe, and the transatlantic skies. Her first book, Empire in the Air: Airline Travel and the African Diaspora (New York University Press, 2017), examines the racial and imperial politics of flying. Among her other works are a co-edited volume on transdisciplinarity and creative non-fiction essays on air culture, geometries of power, and deportation flights. Her current research project is about race and radical significance.