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Ashanté Reese

Virtual Dean’s Grand Rounds

Ashanté Reese

Dr. Ashanté Reese is assistant professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and is affiliated with the Departments of Anthropology and American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from American University in 2015 and a bachelors of arts in History with a minor in African American studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Broadly speaking, Dr. Reese works at the intersection of critical food studies and Black geographies, examining the ways Black people produce and navigate food-related spaces and places in the context of anti-blackness. Animated by the question, who and what survives?, much of Dr. Reese’s work has focused on the everyday strategies Black people employ while navigating inequity. Her first book, Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C., takes up these themes through an ethnographic exploration of antiblackness and food access. Black Food Geographies won the 2020 Best Monograph Award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society. Her second book, Black Food Matters: Racial Justice in the Wake of Food Justice, is a collection co-edited with Hanna Garth that explores the geographic, social, and cultural dimensions of food in Black life across the U.S. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon foundation and has been published in a variety of academic and public venues: Antipode, Human Geography, and Gravy Magazine among others.

Currently, Dr. Reese is working on a project tentatively titled, The Carceral Life of Sugar in which she explores the spatial, economic, and metaphorical resonance of the “plantation” in the early 20th century convict lease system in Texas and the ongoing carceral significance of sugar in everyday (Black) life.

This lecture is hosted by the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute.

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