I am a Ph.D. student in African and African American Studies at Harvard University with a primary field in History. I also have an M.F.A. in Design from the University of Texas at Austin (2015) and a B.A. in Fine Arts from The University of Pennsylvania (2008).
My current work focuses on race, labor, and capitalism in Louisiana’s River Parishes in the 19th century. The region along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge known as “Cancer Alley” was and still is a racial and ecological sacrifice zone. Once lined with sugar plantations, this area has served the demands of global commerce for over two centuries through the exploitation and abuse of African American lives and labor. Today, it is a dystopian landscape of massive flood control infrastructure, petrochemical refineries, and marginalized communities. The transition from chattel slavery to “free” labor, and from sugar to oil can be read in the exhausted landscape itself. I search for the stories of life, loss, and resistance in between the smokestacks and beneath the levees.
This research is influenced by ongoing work in New Orleans as a community organizer, French Quarter tour guide, and designer. I am deeply committed to public history and collaborative scholarship.