PhD, Communication Studies, Wayne State University, 2014
MLS, American Culture (Women's Studies Concentration), University of Michigan-Flint, 2004
BA, English, Saginaw Valley State University, 2002
Interests and Expertise
Vanessa joined the Women's and Gender Studies Department in 2010 as a part-time lecturer. She earned her PhD in Communication at Wayne State University. Her dissertation, "Growing 'Homeplace' in Critical Service-Learning: An Urban Womanist Pedagogy," examines the intersection of gender, race, class and space as it relates to Black women urban gardeners who collaborate with academic partners while resisting traditional service-learning narratives based on charity/deficit models that construct "at-risk" communities. Her research and teaching interests include intersectionality and critical service-learning; womanist and queer pedagogy; urban grassroots activism; women of color in academia; and Black feminist autoethnography.
Publications and Presentations
"Teaching for Change: Notes from a Broke Queer Hustling Mama." In Sekile Nzinga-Johnson (Ed.), Laboring Positions: Black Women and Mothering in Academe. Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press, 2013.
"In This Very Room: Womanist Pedagogy and the Creation of Sanctuaries." Paper presented at the National Communication Association 93rd Annual Convention, Chicago, 2007.
"Lessons from the Borderlands: Risky Writing and the Emergence of a Mestiza Negra." Paper presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, San Antonio, 2004.
WGST 200: Introduction to Women's Studies
WGST 202: Introduction to Gender and Sexuality