Tanisha C. Ford is an award-winning writer, cultural critic, and Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015), which narrates the powerful intertwining histories of the Black Freedom movement and the rise of the global fashion industry. Liberated Threads won the 2016 Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for best book on civil rights history. She is a co-founder of TEXTURES, a pop-up material culture lab, creating and curating content on fashion and the built environment.
Tanisha's work centers on social movement history, feminist issues, material culture, the built environment, black life in the Rust Belt, girlhood studies, and fashion, beauty, and body politics. Her public writing and cultural commentary have been featured in diverse media outlets and publications including ELLE, The Atlantic, The Root, Aperture, The Feminist Wire, Cognoscenti, The New York Times, New Yorker, Ebony, NPR: Code Switch, Fusion, News One, New York Magazine: The Cut, Yahoo! Style, Vibe Vixen, and New York City’s HOT 97. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Southern History, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, The Black Scholar, and Qed.
A dynamic speaker, Tanisha has been invited to give lectures and serve as a roundtable discussant at institutions around the world including: the Brooklyn Museum, the Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Museum of the City of New York, the Delaware Historical Society, National Arts Club, Parson’s The New School for Design, Ritsumeikan University (Japan), the Black Europe Summer School (Netherlands), and The University of London.
She is currently working on two new book projects. The first is a history of black style, from Black Power to #BLackLivesMatter. The second centers on the black women activist-socialites of the mid-twentieth century who hosted lavish galas, fashion shows, and pageants in cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Paris, and Berlin to raise funds for the burgeoning Black Freedom movement.
Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Center for Black Music Research, among others.
She lives in New York City.