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Applying a Unique Perspective

LaToya EavesLaToya E. Eaves is an assistant professor of geography, joining the faculty in August 2020. Prior to arriving at UT, Eaves worked at Middle Tennessee State University, where she served as assistant professor and founding faculty member in the Department of Global Studies & Human Geography. Eaves earned her PhD from Florida International University in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, with a major field in geography. 

Eaves’s service to the discipline of geography is far reaching. She was recently elected a national councilor and serves as treasurer of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Additionally, she serves on the Harassment-Free AAG Task Force, which has been responsible for some groundbreaking policies and protections in our field. Further, Eaves is the lead co-founder of the Black Geographies Specialty Group (BGSG) of the AAG. She served as the inaugural chair from 2017-2020 and co-chaired the 2018 Black Geographies conference theme at the 2018 AAG New Orleans meeting. In recognition of her service to the discipline, Eaves received two of the AAG’s most coveted awards: the 2019 Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors and the 2019 AAG Enhancing Diversity Award. 

In her research, Eaves develops and applies a uniquely geographic perspective to the study of race, gender, and sexuality—all with an un-flinching commitment to social and spatial justice and establishing collaborative relationships between researchers and communities. Eaves’s work has appeared in the Journal of Geography in Higher EducationDialogues in Human GeographyGeoforum, Gender, Place & Culture, and Southeastern Geographer.

Eaves in SenegalEaves in Senegal

Eaves at Antipode Radical Geography Workshop in Mexico CityEaves at Antipode Radical Geography Workshop in Mexico City

Eaves was recently awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), for which she serves as PI, to study the role of African American history museums as part of a critical race perspective on civic engagement and heritage tourism in the United States. 

The grant is a collaboration across five universities, including East Tennessee State University, Eastern Michigan University, Georgia Southern University, and Texas Tech University. The funds will be used for a multi-sited project, analyzing the role of race, heritage, memory, tourism, and community and civic engagement through African American history museums at four geographic sites across the United States. The project will provide a lens into understanding the extent to which museums serve the public through documenting, preserving, and interpreting Black culture and history and difficult events alongside and in partnership with their communities. Additionally, the project will seek to understand the role of African American history museums within their communities, cities, and the larger museum landscape, and how museum professionals address controversial current events as part of their missions to support communities at the local, regional, and national scales. The research is part of Tourism RESET, an initiative that seeks greater social responsibility in the representation of African American heritage in tourism.