Brandi Thompson Summers is an Associate Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia in 2024, Dr. Summer was an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines the relationship between and function of race, space, urban infrastructure, and architecture. She is a contributing writer for Places Journal, and has published several articles and essays that analyze the relationship between race, power, aesthetics, and urbanization that appear in both academic and popular publications, including the New York Times, Boston GlobeAntipode, Urban Geography, Public Books, and The Funambulist. She is on the editorial boards of SOULSUrban Geography, City & Community, cultural geographies, Environment & Planning F, and AAG Review of Books. She is also a member of the editorial collective for Antipode.

Dr. Summers is the author of Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (University of North Carolina Press), which explores how aesthetics and race converge to locate or map blackness in Washington, D.C. In it, she demonstrates the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in the gentrifying city.

Her second book, Oakland Echoes: Reimagining and Reclaiming the Black City (under contract with the University of California Press), explores and highlights the roots and routes of this resistance and reclamation, not only as a response to urban gentrification and related economic policies, but also as a quest to think about the past, present, and future of a Black city.

Brandi received her BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania, her MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and earned an MA and a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Curriculum Vitae


For questions, consulting, or speaking inquiries, contact her here

Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D.
headshot images by Bethanie Hines
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