Meet our new faculty member: Vanessa Lynn Lovelace

Vanessa LovelacePhoto/Mike Lovett

Vanessa Lynn Lovelace

As part of our series profiling new faculty, Vanessa Lynn Lovelace, the Allen-Berenson Fellow in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, talked with BrandeisNOW about her field and research. Lovelace joined the Brandeis faculty in the fall.

How did you become interested in your field/research area?

It’s a funny story actually. This is not what I planned on doing at all. My goal was always to go to law school and become a judge, but while taking a women and the law class my senior year of college I realized my values did not align with the work of a lawyer. To sum it up, my visions of justice were critical of our judicial system. So I decided to do the next best thing, which was go to graduate school in political science. This class I took changed my whole epistemological framework. It is from this that I began to decolonize what it is I knew about justice and freedom and sought to get more at what this means for Black people.

What was your favorite course as a college student? 

The aforementioned course Women and the Law with Professor Gina Dent at University of California, Santa Cruz. I will never forget it. 

What has been your proudest career moment so far?

Getting this postdoc. In her letter welcoming me to Brandeis, Professor Anita Hill stated that bringing me to “campus as our Allen Berenson Post Doc Fellow [was her] proudest moment in this position.” I’m pretty sure I’ve peaked, but having that be because of Anita Hill is pretty wonderful!

What specific question/project are you most excited to explore in your work at Brandeis, and why?

I am most excited to explore work around Blackness and masculinity. Brandeis has a tremendous AAAS department and WGS program, and I am just so excited to meet with and learn from these amazing scholars in these two fields.

What book would you recommend to introduce others to your field?

“Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle” by Katherine McKittrick

What's your favorite book/movie/television/radio program/podcast or hobby unrelated to your field, and why?

I’ve been incredibly obsessed with the podcast “LORE.” I listen to it on my commute, and I just love hearing about the origins of popular folklore.

What has surprised you about Brandeis since you came to campus?

The commitment of the students. I am so impressed by Brandeis students, and their genuine care and excitement for learning. This campus is a very supportive community and I like it.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in your field?

Read all the books you are interested in. They will drive your research, and steer you towards what you want to learn. Don’t be afraid to be passionate about things they sustain you and support you when you sometimes lose your way.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences

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