I’m Dr. Ashanté M. Reese, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Spelman College. I earned a bachelors in History with a minor in African American studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After undergrad, I taught middle school at Coretta Scott King Leadership Academy before I burned out and thought graduate school was a great idea. I went on to earn a Masters in Public Anthropology at American University in 2013 and a PhD in Anthropology, specializing in race, gender, and social justice two years later. Broadly speaking, I’m interested in race and space, particularly Black folks’ production or navigation of space. Currently, that manifests itself in work on food access. You can read more about that work here. If you’re curious about my approach to research and teaching (and well….life) or why this site is called Mambo + Anthro, read more here.
I’m committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, and the way I spend my time outside of the classroom reflects that. Any given year, you can catch me at some combination of the following meetings: American Anthropological Association (I currently serve as 1/3 of the Association for Black Anthropologists Communications Collective), National Women’s Studies Association, Association for the Study of Food in Society, and American Studies Association. I also serve as a peer reviewer for several journals, spanning anthropology, sociology, and geography. As part of my praxis, I regularly publish pieces outside of scholarly journals. You can read this work in Gravy Magazine, on the Food Anthropology blog, and The Feminist Wire.
Outside of researching, engaging with really smart people in/outside the academy, and teaching my wonderfully brilliant students at Spelman College (you can read about my teaching here), I spend my time reading, putting together dope outfits, hosting gatherings at my home, and traveling – especially when I get someone else to pay for it. I’m also a new yogi who is looking forward to the day when I can sit cross-legged comfortably.
I am a southern-born and raised woman who, after many years of fighting it, leans into that southernness as a saving grace. I spend a lot of time thinking about community and vulnerability in my own life but also in the human experience more broadly. This shows up as a theme over and over again in my work. Ultimately, any research, writing, or community-based work I do is me trying to find my way back home – wherever that is at any given moment – and towards a liberation we have yet to fully see.
Interested in my thoughts about the world around me? Skip on over to Musings + Fieldnotes.