Tanisha C. Ford is an associate professor of Africana studies and history at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), which won the 2016 Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award, and a cofounder of TEXTURES, a pop-up material culture lab. Ford’s work centers on social movement history, feminist issues, material culture, the built environment, black life in the Rust Belt, girlhood studies, and fashion, beauty, and body politics.
While at Radcliffe, Ford is working on the first economic history of the civil rights movement to explore how black women activists raised millions of dollars for movement organizations by hosting lavish galas, fashion shows, and beauty pageants for an interracial audience. Using glamour as a framework, she will reveal how their fundraising strategies have shaped much of the modern taste and etiquette culture and, ultimately, helped to elect the first black US president.
Ford has published scholarly research in the Black Scholar, the Journal of Southern History, Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art, and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. Ford’s public writing and cultural commentary have been featured in Aperture, the Atlantic, Ebony, Elle, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Root. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Center for Black Music Research, Ford Foundation, and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Ford earned her PhD in history at Indiana University.