Melanie White, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Melanie Y. White is a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Department of African American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in Africana Studies from Brown University, an M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching interests include hemispheric Black feminist politics, Black diasporic women’s art, and the histories, politics, and visual cultures of Black Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Her first book project, What Dem Do to We No Have Name: Intimate Colonial Violence and Black Feminist Counter-Intimacies on the Mosquito Coast, traces a history of sexual and gender-based colonial violence against Black and Afro-Indigenous women and girls from what is today the Nicaraguan and Honduran Mosquitia. Linking this genealogy of racialized, gendered, and territorial dispossession with the centuries-long struggle for autonomy on the Mosquito Coast, Dr. White juxtaposes the history of intimate colonial violence in the region with the “counter-colonial intimacies” of Afro-Mosquitian women past and present. Specifically, she explores the historical record and contemporary artistic production to highlight Afro-Mosquitian women’s embodied and creative practices of colonial refusal and intimate autonomy. 

Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars. Her work is published or forthcoming in Caribbean QuarterlyLatin American Music ReviewThe E3W Review of Books, and the edited volumes Critical Social Science Research on Black Women in the Americas and Black Feminisms Beyond Borders: Cultivating Knowledge, Solidarity, and Liberation. Dr. White has served as an instructor in the Departments of English and Africana Studies at Smith College, where she taught courses on Black diasporic women writers. Dr. White currently serves on the advisory committee of Recuerdos de Nicaragua, a digital humanities project dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities of the Nicaraguan and Honduran Mosquitia.

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