Historians Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk Join The Graduate Center Faculty

January 23, 2020

Highly regarded social and cultural historians, they bring expertise in African American and women's history to The Graduate Center.

Professors Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk
Professors Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk

The Graduate Center, CUNY is pleased to welcome Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk to its faculty. Prolific scholars and authors, they are joining the Ph.D. Program in History, and Valk will serve as executive director of The Graduate Center’s American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning.
“Their distinctive scholarship as cultural and oral historians and their deep engagement with the community have enriched their fields and reflect the qualities we value at The Graduate Center,” said Julia Wrigley, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “It is a pleasure to welcome them to our community.”
Tanisha C. Ford
Professor, History
Ph.D., Indiana University-Bloomington
Ford is a historian and cultural critic whose projects center on the experiences of black women, girls, and non-binary femmes. She comes to The Graduate Center from the departments of Africana studies and history at the University of Delaware and, before that, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the co-author of Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful and the author of Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion and Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul, which won the 2016 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for Best Book on Civil Rights History from the Organization of American Historians.

Along with her academic work, she writes regularly for The Atlantic, and has contributed to The New York Times, The Root, Elle.com, and Aperture. She also blogs about current issues of race, gender, and popular culture and was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans by The Root. She was awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, which she pursued at Princeton University, and a she has had fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
“I’m thrilled to join the faculty of such a unique institution, with a genuine commitment to public education,” Ford said. “I look forward to creating new courses and professional development opportunities for my students. And it feels great to be in New York full time. I love this city.”
Anne Valk
Professor, History
Executive Director of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning

Ph.D., Duke University
Valk is a specialist in oral history, public history, and the social history of 20th century United States. Before coming to The Graduate Center, she was associate director for public humanities and a lecturer in history at Williams College, where she taught experiential and community-based classes in oral history and public history. Prior to that, she was associate professor of history and director of women’s studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and deputy director of the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University.  

She has written extensively in the areas of women’s history, history of feminism, and oral history. Her books include Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, DC, 1968-1980 and Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South, co-authored with Leslie Brown and recipient of the 2011 Oral History Association Book Prize. Valk has served as president of the Oral History Association and is book series editor of the Oral History Series published by Oxford University Press. 
She became acquainted with the American Social History Project when she first started teaching U.S. history. “I relied heavily on documentary films produced by the American Social History Project and its wonderful textbook, Who Built America,” Valk said. “Now it's exciting to reconnect with this important initiative and to help it continue its excellent work moving the stories of workers, women, grassroots activists, LGBTQ folks, and others from the margins to the center of U.S. history.  I'm also looking forward to the chance to teach public history in a city that contains so many innovative cultural organizations and where there are so many important stories to uncover.  I hope GC students will come find me soon to talk about their interests.”