Check out UConn Today’s recent article “New Faculty Bring Antiracism and the Environment to the Forefront,” where they introduce the new CLAS faculty, including our newest member to the department Ayanna Spencer who will work across disciplines to advance Antiracism and Human Interactions with the Environment.
***Excerpt from article***
Ayanna De’Vante Spencer is an incoming assistant professor in philosophy jointly appointed with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. As a survivor-scholar and Black feminist epistemologist, Spencer’s research weaves Black feminist theory, epistemology, sexual violence literature, settler colonial studies, and feminist anti-carceral studies.
Through her work with Girls for Gender Equity, the Firecracker Foundation, and the ‘MeToo’ Movement, Spencer saw first-hand a problematic intersection between criminalization, how Black girl sexual violence survivors are expected to respond to violence, and how the state determines what they know about their own experience(s) of violence. Her research examines structures of knowledge verification that contribute to what is called the “sexual abuse to prison pipeline.” Spencer has long focused on gendered anti-Black racism and state violence, including her noteworthy ‘Say Her Name’ chapter published in The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Feminism (2018).
As a first-generation college graduate and former UNCF/Mellon Mays fellow, Spencer is committed to equity and inclusion in her classes and is a strong proponent of undergraduate research.