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Standing in the words of Toni Morrison’s “familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar,” Endia Louise Hayes is a doctoral student in Sociology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick who studies the epistemological contributions of formerly enslaved women to social theory. She studies how formerly enslaved, specifically Afro-Texan women, intimately storytell with Texas land creating an alternative archive that corresponds to their radical ways of knowing Black female flesh, life, revolution and its many geographies in Texas. Endia's Masters paper, entitled 'but everyone knows what I taste like': An Exploration of Afro-Texan Women's Nourishing Power,' excavated 'nourishing power' as a way to misread the archives. Here, Afro-Texan women used land as a technology to engage in embodied discourses around the plantation labor that rendered their bodies consumable, yet simultaneously able to fulfill desires and needs of their flesh. This paper is currently being revised for publication.
Endia's work posits these Afro-Texan women as avenues through which the Black female body and her social legacies can be properly viewed within sociology to revisit the past, unpack the present and better integrate slavery into contemporary sociological work. Currently, Endia is working on a second paper that engages Black enslaved imaginaries in the Federal Writers' Project Born in Slavery archive. These imaginaries depend on an encounter with haunting, the phenomenological response of recollecting enslaved life, to name the terror of whiteness in the past and present.
Endia is also deeply committed to abolitionist teaching and pedagogy. From earning her Bachelor’s from Spelman College alongside her time as both a student and, then, employee of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), Endia's pedagogy seeks to instill critical thinking of student's daily social experience using the perspectives of queer/scholars and teachers of color. This teaching strategy pushes the sociological canon to be queer and BIPOC inclusive, encourages student's role as knowledge producers centered within the classroom content, and, finally, encourages community engagement and transformation.