I am a historical and political geographer whose research focuses on the global dynamics of race in the twentieth century. I am interested in how race has been constructed as geographical category and how we trace the political, intellectual, social and artistic labour which was required to enable this to happen. Within this context my work falls into three broad areas:
1. Global Black Geographies - My work examines the historical geographies of black internationalism and Pan-Africanism to examine how forms of anti-colonial and anti-racist organising have been mobilised transnationally. For example, I have spent the past three years reconstructing the interwar meetings of the Pan-African Congress as part of an AHRC project entitled 'Conferencing the International: A cultural and historical geography of the origins of internationalism, 1919-1939'.
2. The Black Geographical Tradition - My work critically engages with the history of geographical thought, especially pertaining to Africa. As part of a wider disciplinary project concerned with decolonising geography, my work has focussed on examining the rich tradition of geographical knowledges and themes in (principally) African American intellectual and political history. It does so in order to question what kinds of stories we tell of our own discipline, who tells them, and who is left out?
3. Black Urban Geographies - My research is interested in how seemingly abstract or transnational ideas (like black internationalism, Pan-Africanism, etc.) materially reshape urban economies and urban politics. Recently, this has been focused on how America's so-called 'black metropolises', like Harlem, became co-ordinating centres for the global black experience and how racial subjectivity was formed in and between cities in the US and beyond.
To-date this research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (2009-14) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2015-19), including extensive periods of overseas archive work in the US. As part of my current project, I am working on a book-length account of 'Pan-Africa' in the interwar years.
I also sit on the editorial board of Geography Compass and I am the Newsletter Editor for the Royal Geographical Society's (with IBG) Historical Geography Research Group.