I study belonging. In all of my research, I aim to understand how we create an "us" and a "them." I try to understand how we structure our world to benefit the "us" and penalize the "them"— how we ensure the well-being of those who belong and alienate those who do not. Finally, I am very interested in how the "them" make do and deal with the consequences not belonging.
To say the same thing in sociology jargon, I use qualitative methods to examine how marginalized populations in urban locales make sense of inequalities in their everyday lives. I investigate how they interpret their social selves and order their relationships; how they create, maintain, and transform social and symbolic boundaries; and how boundaries constrain and enable their lives.
A small bit about myself:
I am a Ghanaian-American. I was raised in a small village in the Central Region of Ghana (Gomoa Jukwa). In the U.S., I have lived in IL, NY, WI, OH, and MS. I received my bachelor's degree at Ithaca College and my Masters and Doctorate degree at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
I am the Vann Associate Professor of Racial Justice and, with my family, live in Charlotte, NC.
Getting something to eat in JAckson: Race, Class, And Food in the American South
In this book, I provide a vivid portrait of African American life in today’s urban South that uses food to explore the complex interactions of race and class.
Smith Davidson Leadership Initiative
As a founder of SDLI, this initiative is an important part of my life. The goal of the initiative is to recruit, select, and teach Johnson C. Smith University and Davidson College students how to become leaders who make a disproportionate impact in the life of a city. The program uses Charlotte, NC as a training ground to teach students about challenges that all cities face.
Coming to America: The Transnational Lives of Ghanaian Migrants
I am in the beginning phase of my third book project about migration from Ghana to the U.S. I combine my family’s archive of migrant letters, oral histories of 100 Ghanaian families in the U.S. (and their family members in Ghana), and a multi-city ethnography of Ghanaian communities in Accra, Ghana and Atlanta, GA and Bronx, NY in the U.S.
The goal of sociology is to uncover the most deeply buried structures of the different social worlds that make up the social universe, as well as the “mechanisms” that tend to ensure their reproduction or transformation.
— Pierre Bourdieu
In my local language, we say, Ti kor nko agyina
One head (or person) does not hold council.