I am currently writing my dissertation titled, “How Do We Enact Change?: Crossing Race and Class Borders in East Oakland 2009-2019” as a PhD Candidate in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.
I am most interested in looking at how people with race, class, and academic privilege (what poverty scholars at POOR call “organizational privilege”) are redistributing our time, money, and resources across race and class divides. I believe that sharing how people ground reparative practices in spirituality is particularly important right now, when political, environmental, and cultural polarization have left many feeling hopeless and helpless. Ultimately, my goal is to guide those who have access to wealth, land, and resources to show up as our full selves in movement work so that we can support poor, indigenous, POC in their own self-determined movements.
I have taught the following courses at UC Berkeley:
• “Dreaming of Utopia and The Politics of Hopeful Spaces” (Spring 2018) — a reading & composition course I designed
• Discussion sections for “Introduction to Performance Studies” with Professor Abigail De Kosnik (Fall 2017)
And will be teaching:
• “Performing Race, Class, and Space in Oakland, CA” (Spring 2020) — a research-focused reading & composition course I designed
• “Drama of American Culture” with Professor Angela Marino (Fall 2019
When I think of “study” that makes scholarship, I’m deeply inspired by Fred Moten’s description of it as “talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice.” For me, it is a converging of mind/body/spirit with joy, humility, and community.
One of the ways I’ve practiced community scholarship is through the Church of Black Feminist Thought, an experiential black feminist study group that I co-founded with Ra Malika Imhotep in 2018. What started with the idea to collaborate on a black feminist theory zine blossomed into an intergenerational group committed to being in rigorous, intimate relationships with the work of black feminist writers and artists. Over the course of a year, we gathered around potluck food, altars, and embodied practice to study and celebrate the works of Octavia Butler, Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Toni Morrison, Nina Simone, Ula Y. Taylor, Ntozake Shange, local artist Amara T. Smith, The Beautiful Being Project, Patricia Hill Collins, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks. I provided the visual vessel by drawing portraits of our thinkers and creating visual theory maps (a few samples above) of what we studied at gatherings. This, we compiled into a black feminist study theory atlas.