"the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger...[yet] that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength" - Audre Lorde, "Tranformation of Silence" (1984)
Christen Anne Smith, Ph.D. is a researcher, writer, social justice advocate and activist anthropologist. She is currently Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin.
Smith's work focuses on engendered anti-Black state violence and Black community responses to it in Brazil and the Americas. She particularly focuses on transnational anti-Black police violence, Black liberation struggles, the paradox of Black citizenship in the Americas, and the dialectic between the enjoyment of Black culture and the killing of Black people. Her work in Brazil uses the lens of performance to examine the immediate and long-term impact of police violence on Black people and Black community responses to this violence. Her more recent, comparative work examines the lingering, deadly impact of police violence on black women in Brazil and the U.S.
Smith earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Princeton University and her doctorate in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University. Her book, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil (University of Illinois Press, 2016) chronicles Black Brazilians' experiences with police violence in Bahia and the state's construction of Bahia as an exotic space (afro-paradise) through the lens of the theater.