Dr. Melanie Y. White is an Assistant Professor of Afro-Caribbean Studies 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 manuscript in progress 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 Miskitu Coast, she juxtaposes the history of intimate colonial violence in the region with the “anticolonial 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 Quarterly, The Forum for Inter-American Research, Small Axe, NACLA Report on the Americas, and the edited volumes Black Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: Critical Perspectives and Research and Black Feminisms Beyond Borders: Cultivating Knowledge, Solidarity, and Liberation. She 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.