Assistant Professor of African, African American and Diaspora Studies
E. Franklin St. 170
Maya J. Berry is an Assistant Professor of African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her writing and teaching focuses on the politics of race, gender, and performance, with a special emphasis on blackness, the sacred arts, and spiritual epistemologies in contemporary Cuba. Berry earned her PhD in Social Anthropology (African Diaspora Program) at the University of Texas at Austin and her MA in Performance Studies from New York University. Her scholarship has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies at UT Austin, the Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello, the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, and the Dance Studies Association. In 2015, she was honored with the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the Association for Feminist Anthropology. Berry’s current research employs a black feminist and performance lens to examine what existing movements toward black self-making in the contemporary “post-Fidel” era can teach us about the Cuban Revolution’s “updating” economic model and visions for its future. Black-identified social and cultural movements are challenging modernist, nationalist paradigms of political action and identification. Taken as a whole, Berry’s research explores the way black political lives within and beyond state institutions trouble notions of the sacred and secular, and gesture toward uniquely articulated visions of social justice. Her scholarship appears in Afro-Hispanic Review, Black Diaspora Review, Cultural Anthropology, and Cuban Studies.