Courtney Desiree Morris

Associate Professor

Courtney Desiree Morris is a visual/conceptual artist and an associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She teaches courses on critical race theory, feminist theory, black social movements in the Americas, women’s social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as race and environmental politics in the African Diaspora. She is a social anthropologist and is currently completing a book entitled To Defend this Sunrise: Black Women’s Activism and the Geography of Race in Nicaragua, which examines how black women activists have resisted historical and contemporary patterns of racialized state violence, economic exclusion, territorial dispossession, and political repression from the 19th century to the present. She is currently developing a new project on the racial politics of energy production and dispossession in the US Gulf South and South Africa. Her work has been published in American Anthropologist, the Bulletin of Latin American Research, the Journal of Women, Gender, and Families of Colormake/shift: feminisms in motion, and Asterix. To see her art work visit


“Creole Women’s Erotic Performance in Nicaragua.” In Aimee Meredith Cox, ed. Gender: Space. Part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Gender series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2018. 225-238. 2018.

“Unexpected Uprising: The Crisis of Democracy in Nicaragua.” North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). May 14. 2016.

“Becoming Creole, Becoming Black: Migration, Diasporic Self-Making, and the Many Lives of Madame Maymie Leona Turpeau de Mena.” Women, Gender, and Families of Color. 4(2): 171-195, 2016. 2016.

“Toward a Geography of Solidarity: Afro-Nicaraguan Women’s Land Activism and Autonomy in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region.” The Bulletin of Latin American Research. 35(3): 355-369, 2016. 2015.

“Where it Hurts: 2014 Public Anthropology Year in Review.” American Anthropologist. 117(3): 540-552. 2010.

“Pensar el feminismo afronicaragüense.” Política e identidad: Afrodescendientes en México y América Central, ed. Odile Hoffman. D.F., México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Estudios Mexicanos y Centroamericanos, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement. 233-269. 2010.

“Becoming Oya.” Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academics, and the Austin Project, eds. Joni Jones, Lisa Moore, Sharon Bridgforth. Austin: University of Texas Press. 124-130. 2010. Morris, Courtney Desiree.

“Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence Enables State Violence in Radical Movements.” make/shift: feminisms in motion. No. 7. Spring/Summer. 18-21.

Research interests: 
  • Black women’s social movements
  • State violence and authoritarianism
  • Racial formations in Latin America, the Caribbean and the US
  • Critical race theory
  • Feminist and queer theory
  • Environmental ethics
  • Black visual culture and aesthetics