Anthropology Alumna returns as Professor

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Dr. Vanessa Castaneda graduated from Charlotte in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She continued her scholarly journey with a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies at New York University, and then a Ph.D at Tulane. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Brazil. For the past two years she has worked as a post-doctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College. Dr. Castaneda has recently returned to the Charlotte area as an Assistant Professor of Afro-Latin American Studies at Davidson College.

“My research centers on the baianas de acarajé,” she writes, “predominantly older, working-class Black women who are street vendors in Salvador, Brazil, that sell typical regional foods with culinary origins in West Africa. They also have come to exist as central icons of the African heritage tourism and cultural figures of regional and national Brazilian identity.”