Associate Professor | Human Geography
I am an Associate Professor of Geography. Broadly situated, my research is located at the intersections of race, gender, diaspora, critical geography and queer studies. I explore the geographic imaginaries of Blackness, gender, and queerness by bringing critical approaches to the social transformation of places, the nuances of region, and lived experiences under rights-based progress narratives. This line of inquiry builds on my dissertation research, in which I examined the socio-spatial and political factors shaping social progress and attachments to place in the American South.
Among my current active projects, I serve as PI on a research grant from the National Science Foundation. 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 (AAHMs) 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. The research is part of Tourism RESET, an initiative that seeks greater social responsibility in the representation of African American heritage in tourism.
I joined the UTK faculty in August 2020. Previously, I worked at Middle Tennessee State University, where I served as Assistant Professor and founding faculty member in the Department of Global Studies & Human Geography. There, I taught a range of courses for the department as well as for the Africana Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Additionally, I co-led an education abroad program to Senegal for Africana Studies and Global Studies students.
I am very active in the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). I served Co-Chair of the NWSA’s Women of Color Leadership Caucus from 2015-2017. I am a member of the AAG Governing Council, elected as National Councilor and currently serving as Treasurer (2020-2022), as well as a member of the Harassment-Free Task Force. Additionally, I was the lead co-founder of the AAG Black Geographies Specialty Group (BGSG) and served as the inaugural Chair from 2017-2020.
Ph.D., Florida International University