Dr. Brandi Summers


Assistant Professor
(804) 828-9349


Ph.D. (2014) in Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Biographical Statement

Brandi Thompson Summers received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2014.  Dr. Summers joins Virginia Commonwealth University as an Assistant Professor of African American Studies.

Research Interests

Dr. Summers’ research and teaching interests include aesthetics, cultural politics, social theory, and visual culture.  Her research explores the broad range of meanings ascribed to black bodies in urban environments as well as the spatial production of blackness as a way to understand race and political economy.  Her new project explores the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in Washington, D.C., as well as practices and policies concerned with re-shaping prevailing narratives about progress in US race relations.


Summers, B.T. 2016. “Haute (Ghetto) Mess”: Post-Racial Aesthetics and the Seduction of Blackness in High Fashion.” In Race Post-Race, H. Gray, S. Banet-Weiser, and R. Mukherjee, eds. Durham: Duke University Press.

Summers, B.T. 2015. “H Street, Main Street and the Neoliberal Aesthetics of Cool.” In Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC, eds. D. Hyra and S. Prince. New York: Routledge.

Summers, B., J. Nash, M. Miller-Young. 2012. “Black Erotics: A Conversation.” YoYo so4 December (pgs. 13-16)


Black Sights and Sites: Race and Visual Media
Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Street Life: Race and Aesthetics in the Built Environment