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Jovan Scott Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is generally concerned with the questions of racial capitalism, underdevelopment, and radical terms of repair. He is the author of Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) and Violent Utopia: Dispossession and Black Restoration in Tulsa, from Duke University Press, which traces the consequences of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. In 2021, he was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the state's Reparations Taskforce. He started the Berkeley Black Geographies Project in 2016 after joining the Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley. 



Brandi Thompson Summers is an assistant professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research builds on epistemological and methodological insights from cultural and urban geography, urban sociology, African American studies, and media studies by examining the cultural, political, and economic dynamics by which race and space are reimagined and reordered. Brandi's book, Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (UNC Press), explores how aesthetics and race converge to locate or map blackness in Washington, D.C. In it, she demonstrates the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in the gentrifying city. Her current book project, tentatively titled Routes of Race, Resistance, and the Geographies of Belonging in Oakland, California, is an interdisciplinary study that examines the complex ways in which uses of space and placemaking practices inform productions of knowledge and power. 



Sharad Chari is a geographer who has worked between Marxist agrarian studies, historical ethnography, Black Marxism and Southern feminisms. Sharad is author of Fraternal Capital: Peasant-workers, self-made men and globalization in provincial India (2004), co-editor of The Development Reader (2008) and Other Geographies (2017), and is on the editorial team of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory. His book in process, Apartheid Remains, is based on long-term resarch since 2002 in Durban, South Africa, in neighborhoods in an industrial-residential patchwork landscape, a valley that traps pollution and foists its burden on people racialized ‘Indian’ and ‘Coloured’ in South African racial capitalism, many of whom found radical political alternatives in coalitional Black politics. This book, and a series of articles on Black thought have opened new areas of research on Black women's militancy and queer futurity during and after South Africa's unfinished revolution and on the notion of 'oceanic economy,' linking the Black Atlantic to the Southern African Indian Ocean.

Graduate Students

Berkeley Black Geographies is comprised of a robust and stellar group of graduate students who serve as critical partners in the project. Their work stands as one of the greatest indicators of the development and contributions of Black geographic thought and spatial process. Their research across the diversity of their projects seeks to understand how racialization orders our world, and how the everyday articulations of that experience produced a novel understanding of that world. De-centering western thought, our students are committed to producing new vocabularies for the Geography discipline.
Our current roster of students, in order of arrival, include:

Maria Pettis
April L. Graham-Jackson
Bobby Moeller
Morgan Vickers

William Carter
Annie Lloyd
Juleon Robinson

Zein Dahir
Adam Hasan

Jasmine Martin

Edward Martin

Sibahle Ndwayana

Tamara Jamil

Berkeley Black Geographies Alum:
Camilla Hawthorne 
Kaily Heitz
Jane Henderson
Kerby Lynch


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