Affiliated Institutions

University of Pennsylvania

Savannah Shange is a joint doctoral candidate in Africana Studies and Education, Culture and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow. She studies circulated and lived forms of blackness using the tools of anthropology, Afro-pessimism, and queer of color critique. Her dissertation is an ethnographic study of social justice education in San Francisco, focused on how antiblack and settler colonial logics are both combated and perpetuated in multiracial progressive movements. Before entering the academy, Shange was a teacher and program coordinator at small public high schools serving communities of color. She is now based in New Orleans as she completes her dissertation.

Areas of Research

neoliberalism, urban education, Afro-pessimism


Shange, Savannah. Forthcoming. A King Named Nicki: Strategic Queerness and the Black FemmeCee. Special Issue, “All Hail the Queenz: A Queer Feminist Recalibration of Hip Hop Scholarship,” Women and Performance.

Shange, Savannah. 2012. ‘This is Not a Protest:’ Managing Dissent in Racialized San Francisco. Pp. 91-104. In Black California Dreamin’: The Crises of California’s African-American Communities. Santa Barbara: Center for Black Studies.

Shange, Savannah and Diana Slaughter-Defoe. 2011. Whither Go the Status Quo?: Independent Education at the Turn of the 21st Century. In Black Educational Choice: Assessing the Private, Parochial, and Public Alternatives to Traditional K-12 Public Schools. Diana Slaughter-Defoe, Howard Stevenson and Deborah Johnson, eds. Santa Barbara: Praeger.


San Francisco, CA, United States

Between Insurgence and Inclusion: Strategies of Citizenship in Racialized San Francisco

This study engages a community high school as a nexus of racial formation, adaptive statecraft, and social movement in the context of a rapidly gentrifying and racially polarized city. This research contributes to our understanding of how situated, local, practices of multiracial coalition can work against themselves to foreshorten the reach of inherited racial ideologies, even as they lead to the limited empowerment of people of color.