Amanda’s research focuses on the ideologies and institutions that drive racial inequality in the post-civil rights era United States, and the ways black Americans respond to multiple, intersecting, and dynamic systems of domination. Her dissertation and current research agenda focus on these issues in the context of gentrification in Brooklyn, New York; in her work, she illuminates ways historic and contemporary discrimination render black Brooklynites uniquely vulnerable to displacement and disenfranchisement, as well as vital institutions and expressive cultures black Brooklynites have developed in the context of profound structural constraints.

Amanda’s past research has explored the social, cultural, and ideological construction of race, the politics of African American popular culture, and the ways racial identity and group consciousness influence racial and ethnic minorities’ political behaviors and identities. Her previous affiliations include Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences initiative, as well as Duke University’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences.

Research Interests

African-American history and politics; black popular culture; urban history; U.S. race and ethnic politics; structural inequality


“The ‘New’ New York: Race, Space, and Power in Gentrifying Brooklyn”
Committee: Dr. Tricia Rose (Chair), Dr. Matthew Pratt Guterl, and Dr. B. Anthony Bogues

Located at the nexus of African American history, critical geography, urban history, and cultural studies, Amanda’s dissertation explores the racial operations of post-1970 gentrification in Brooklyn, New York.  Using historical, sociological and ethnographic approaches, she links the history of race and structural racism in Brooklyn and the rise of neoliberalism and colorblind racial ideology to the cumulative vulnerabilities of black residents of gentrifying neighborhoods.  Whereas the older model of gentrification traditionally presented itself as a restoration of old glamor, Amanda argues that current modes are signifiers of the triumph of global capital, which erases rather than restores old histories, and compels longstanding residents to flee and make room for the new rich.  Through a close analysis of gentrification’s psychic, social, and material consequences for black communities, she also argues that it relies on a false sense of inclusion in order to further obscure the people, places, and cultural memories it erases.  Amanda’s project links struggles for spatial control to struggles over racial control and self-determination.  The exclusionary restructuring of urban space sheds light on the nature of the contemporary fragility of black communities, and has implications that extend far beyond the confines of a single borough.

Selected Research Awards & Honors

Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2018-2020)
Office of the Provost, New York University

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2017-2018)
Ford Foundation and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

SSRC-Mellon Mays Graduate Studies Enhancement Grant (2014 & 2016)
Social Science Research Council

MMUF Travel & Research Grant (2015)
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

SSRC-Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Development Grant (2015)
Social Science Research Council

Dean’s Graduate Fellowship (2010-2012)
The Graduate School, Duke University

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (2009-2010)
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Duke University