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kihana miraya ross

Assistant Professor of Black Studies

Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies of Education, UC Berkeley, 2016
M.A. in Social and Cultural Studies of Education, UC Berkeley, 2011
B.A. in African American Studies; Sociology; Education minor, UC Berkeley, 2002

Research Interests:

Black space in education
Antiblackness in education
Educational Fugitivity
Black Education Studies
Black girlhood in education
Black student experience
Educational Reparations


kihana miraya ross is an assistant professor of African American Studies. Her program of research draws on critical ethnographic and participatory design methodologies to examine the multiplicity of ways that antiblackness is lived by Black students in what she calls the afterlife of school segregation, a framework that illuminates the ways in which despite the end of legal segregation of schooling, Black students remain systematically dehumanized and positioned as uneducable. Critically, her work also explores how Black educators and students collectively imagine and refuse antiblackness, and racialization processes more generally. Specifically, her conceptualization of Black educational fugitive space explores the ways Black students and educators enact educational fugitivity through the social production of Black space in the margin. She is particularly interested in the ways Black educational fugitive space manifests as both departure and refuge from the gratuitous violence of the afterlife of school segregation, and spawns the possibilities for rebirth and resistance.

Her current book project explores antiblackness, educational fugitivity, and Black educational fugitive space in education, historically, theoretically, and ethnographically. It takes seriously the ways slavery and its afterlives continue to mark Black learners, and yet it is committed to understanding how we carve out space – how we develop and sustain them – for Black folks to sit with the weight of antiblackness in education while also engaging in the political act of Black dreaming—to imagine strategies for wrestling with our educational realities, while building towards Black educational futurities.

ross was recently awarded a Large Grant from the Spencer Foundation for her project entitled, Wrestling with reparations: A historical and ethnographic study of a Black community's struggle for educational justice. In this work, she explores Evanston’s bold and unprecedented legislative decision organized around the concept of race-based reparations; ross interrogates what this may mean for what she calls educational reparations.

Selected Awards/Honors:

2021: Spencer Foundation Large Grant

2022: Spencer Foundation Conference Grant

2017: Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

2015: Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow

Selected Publications:

ross, k. m., & Givens, J. R. (2023). The clearing: On Black education studies and the problem of “antiblackness”. Harvard Educational Review 93(2), 149–172

ross, k. (2021). Anti-Blackness in education and the possibilities of redress: Toward educational reparations. Amerikastudien/American Studies, 66 (1), 229-233. 

ross, k.m. (2020, October 8th). How abolition makes schools safer. Level (Medium).

ross, k.m. (2020, June 4th). Call it what it is: Anti-blackness. New York Times.

ross, k.m. (2020, Fall). It’s time to abolish schools. Northwestern Magazine.

ross, k.m. (2020). On Black Education: Anti-blackness, Refusal, and Resistance in Grant, C.A., Dumas, M.J., & Woodson, A.N. (Eds.). The Future is Black: Afropressimism, Fugitivity and Radical Hope in Education. Routledge.

ross, k.m. (2020). Black space in education: (Anti)blackness in schools and the afterlife of segregation in Grant, C.A., Dumas, M.J., & Woodson, A.N. (Eds.). The Future is Black: Afropressimism, Fugitivity and Radical Hope in Education. Routledge.

ross, k.m. (2019). Revisiting BlackCrit in education: Anti-Black reality and liberatory fantasy. Center for Critical Race Studies in Education at UCLA, 17 (1), 1-4. 

Nxumalo, F. & ross, k.m. (2019). Envisioning Black space in environmental education for young children. Race Ethnicity and Education, 22(4), 502-524.

ross, k.m. (2018). Ties that bind: Forging Black girl space in the Black (male) educational “crisis” in Nasir, N., Givens, J., & Chatmon, C., (Eds.). We Dare Say Love: Supporting African American Male Achievement. Teachers College Press, Multicultural Education Series.

ross, k.m., Nasir, N., Givens, J., McKinney de Royston, M, Vakil, S., Madkins, T., & Philoxene, D. (2016). “I do this for all of the reasons America doesn’t want me to”: The Organic Pedagogies of Black Male Instructors. Equity & Excellence in Education, 49(1), 85-99

Dumas, M. J., ross, k.m. (2016). “Be Real Black For Me”: Imagining BlackCrit in education. Urban Education, 51, 415–442.

McKinney de Royston, M., Vakil, S., Nasir, N.S., ross, k.m., Givens, J., & Holman, A. (2017).  “He’s More Like a ‘Brother’ Than a Teacher”: Politicized caring in a program for African American males. Teachers College Record, 119(4), 1-40.

Givens, J., Nasir, N., ross, k.m., McKinney deRoyston, M. (2016). Modeling manhood: Reimagining Black male identities in school. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 47(2) 167-185.

Nasir, N., ross, k.m., McKinney deRoyston, M., Givens, J., & Bryant, J. (2013). Dirt on My Record: Rethinking disciplinary practices in an all-Black, all-male alternative class. Harvard Educational Review, 83(3), 489-512.