New Faculty: Michell Chresfield

Michell Chresfield

Assistant Professor, Africana Studies 

Academic focus:

African American history, Indigenous history, histories of science, and histories of racial formation 

Current research project: 

My book-in-progress, "What Lies Between: Race, Science, and Prehistory of Multiracial America," explores how communities of purported Black and Indigenous ancestry worked with and against the emerging sciences of the 20th century in efforts to enshrine their identity claims. Examining key episodes in the development of eugenics, blood group genetics, and modern-day DNA testing, the book traces the historical use of medical and scientific diagnostics as an arbiter of racial meaning.

Previous positions:

  • Lecturer, History, University of Birmingham, 2017-2022
  • Dietrich Postdoctoral Fellow, History, University of Pittsburgh, 2016-2017

Academic background: 

  • Ph.D., History, Vanderbilt University, 2016
  • M.A., History, Vanderbilt University, 2012
  • B.A., American and Canadian studies, University of Notre Dame, 2008

Last book read:

 "Dear Science and Other Stories" by Katherine McKittrick

In your own time/when not working:

I enjoy attending live music events, trying new recipes, and DIY projects. 

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:

I'm most looking forward to teaching Black Body Politics: Histories, Theories, and Debates, as well as Black and Indigenous Histories

What most excites you about Cornell:

I'm most excited about the opportunity to teach and research in the birthplace of Africana studies. 

Twitter handle/blog url:


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