My work as a scholar, like my work on the ground, unfolds through deep and intentional collaborations. Presently, my friends and colleagues Elayne Oliphant, Daniel Vaca, and I are launching a new #mutualaid growing/thinking/learning space, “Creating the World Anew: Religion, Economy, and Mutual Aid,” with the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. As Dean Spade teaches us, “Mutual aid is present in every crisis.” To contribute to this work, we’ve been guided by Mariame Kaba’s question “When something can’t be fixed, what can we build instead?” and also asking: 1) How can we amplify work that actualizes a world otherwise? 2) Where do we see glimmers of this world taking shape? What we’ve come up with is both an experiment and a laboratory for growing more. Together, we will explore how religion can serve as a creative force for imagining and building the world that must be, against the violence and destruction of our present. If you’d like to be involved, please take a minute to fill out this form to let us know more about you, your work, the projects that inspire you, and your dreams for creating the world anew.
My past collaborative projects have centered on transformative ethnographic praxis. Through the “Otherwise Anthropology” learning laboratory I built with my dear friend and colleague Megan Raschig, we united scholars and activists of social movements in North America, East Asia, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Western Europe in sustained conversation. Together, we published a compendium of our ethical tools and methodological challenges as a Cultural Anthropology ‘Theorizing the Contemporary’ series. With my dear friend and colleague Yana Stainova, I co-dreamed a project on “Method-Making in Concert,” through which we undertook fieldwork in tandem and steady conversation to reimagine the possibilities for ethnographic practice when every facet of our work is opened to the intimacies of collaboration. We brought this methodological approach to bear in a graduate seminar we co-taught between McMaster University and Florida State University called, “Collaborative Ethnographies,” and are currently preparing an article for publication.
Through my public events and programming, I continue to strive to leverage my collaborations and relationships to address critical issues in the campus communities of which I am a part. Here are a few of the events and forums I have organized in service to the academy and movements for social change:
- “30+ Years of Black Feminist Struggle: A Central City Tour with Women With A Vision.” Co-organizer with Shaquita Borden and Deon Haywood of a bus tour retracing the grounds of WWAV’s historic outreach routes and mapping the geographies of struggle held in this land for the American Studies Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
- “30 Years at the Intersections: Justice, Action, and Black Feminist Struggle.” Organizer of a week-long series of engaged conversations, student workshops, and porch talks accompanying Women With A Vision’s Deon Haywood and Shaquita Borden’s work with Dartmouth College and the Upper Valley as Visiting Scholars.
- “Religious Freedom and US Empire.” Organizer of a public talk and series of engaged conversations accompanying Tisa Wenger’s work with Dartmouth College and the Upper Valley community as a Visiting Scholar.
- “Wounds and Worlds: Spiritual healing as politics otherwise in California.” Organizer of a public talk and series of engaged conversations accompanying Megan Raschig’s work with Dartmouth College and the Upper Valley community as a Visiting Scholar.
- “Medicalizing the Souls of Black Folk: Public Health & the Governance of Black Religion in the American South.” Organizer of a public talk and series of engaged conversations accompanying Jamil Drake’s work with Dartmouth College and the Upper Valley community as a Visiting Scholar.
- “Theory on the Ground: religion and spirituality, repressing and redeeming the struggle for justice.” Co-Organizer of a panel hosted at the Center for Religion and Media at New York University, November 2015.
- “Making Time: Discipline and Religion in America’s Prisons.” Co-Organizer of a panel hosted at the Center for Religion and Media at New York University, April 2015.
- “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?: Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics.” Graduate Coordinator of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) annual conference at Columbia University, hosted in partnership with the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS), October 2014.
- Religion and Incarceration. Co-Founder of a collaborative forum for activists and academics to explore religion, power and the ends of mass incarceration, January 2014.
- “Religion on the Move: Movement, Migration, Missions and new Media across Religious Traditions.” Co-Coordinator of the Columbia Religion Graduate Students Association’s annual conference, which hosted papers from more than sixteen young scholars representing twelve universities nationwide, April 2013.
- “Migrant Imaginaries: Religion on the Move in the African Diaspora.” Co-Organizer of an opening panel for the Religion Graduate Students Association conference, hosted in partnership with the Religions of Harlem project, April 2013.
- “Fencing in God.” Co-Organizer of the Institute for Religion, Culture, & Public Life (IRCPL) three-part series on religion, incarceration and immigration, featuring “Guadalupan New York” (February), “Religion and Incarceration” (March), and “Immigration Detention” (April), Spring 2013.