I am a critical/cultural studies scholar who focuses on how people with marginalized identities communicate their identities individually and collectively. Specifically, I am interested in how people of color negotiate and communicate their identities as they occupy and traverse virtual and physical space, given histories of racialized oppression and collective memory. I utilize qualitative methods, such as interviews and ethnography to understand how people perceive and enact their identities, often using arts-based methods to further involve participant knowledge in the structure and representation of the research.
Exploring the Communicative Identity Construction of Descendants of Roberts Settlement examines the identities of descendants of an early racialized settlement in Indiana. The findings show that Roberts descendants communicate their identities in diverse ways, notably: their personal racial identities develop over time and are sometimes fluid; their conceptions of family are diverse and tie them to a larger, imagined community, with histories of racial passing affecting degrees of relational closeness; many enact their identities as descendants through attending annual homecomings at the settlement and/or learning about the settlement’s history; and many find significance in their identities as people who belong to the Black community and to the Roberts Settlement community. The findings of this study exemplify the social, cultural, and political forces that create and maintain race in the US, as well as their influence on individual and communal racial identity.
View my Cirriculum Vitae here.