Laura McTighe

Research Associate & Lecturer
Academic Appointments

Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows
Lecturer, Department of Religion
Co-Founder, Front Porch Research Strategy

Laura McTighe is an interdisciplinary scholar of gender, race, religion, and social movements in America. She studies the often-hidden histories of struggle that fill our present, and asks how practitioners use religion to organize and transform our world. Her research and teaching take shape through and are sustained through twenty years of work in our nation’s movements to end AIDS and prisons.

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This blended path, of activism and learning, has influenced both the subject matter and the approach of her scholarly work. Building on her published work in Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society (2018) and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society (2017), her first book project, Fire Dreams: Terror, Resistance, and Rebirth, is a collaborative ethnography of activist persistence undertaken in partnership with the Black feminist leaders of New Orleans’ Women With A Vision after their offices were firebombed and destroyed in a still-uninvestigated arson attack. Her next project, “Moral Medicine,” is a historical ethnography of race, religion, and gendered punishment, which traces the continuities between nineteenth-century carceral imaginaries and our current era of mass criminalization.

Additionally, she is also engaged in two public humanities projects: the first, “Refusing to Vanish,” maps Muslim women’s AIDS activism throughout the African diaspora; the second, “To Instill Love for My People,” moves with Chicago elders as they reassemble the communities decimated by mass criminalization. Both of these projects find home and interlocutors through her academic work to gather scholars and activist in sustained dialogue. The most expansive of these incitements has been building the “Otherwise Anthropology” multimodal laboratory with Megan Raschig at Sacramento State. For the 2018-2019 academic year, she is also organizing a new Dartmouth teaching-research collaborative with Yana Stainova entitled “Method-Making in Concert.”

McTighe’s research has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Institute for Religion, Culture, & Public Life, and the Dartmouth College Venture Fund.

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Curriculum Vitae Personal Website
Ph. D. Columbia University
M. Phil Columbia University
M.A. Columbia University
M.T.S. Harvard University
B.A. Haverford College

Selected Publications

“‘To Instill Love for My People’: Reassembling the Social in a Time of Mass Criminalization.” CrossCurrents, Special Issue on “Religion, Political Democracy, and the Specters of Race,” ed. James Logan (forthcoming).

Front Porch Revolution: Resilience Space, Demonic Grounds, and the Horizons of a Black Feminist Otherwise.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 44, no. 1 (2018): 25-52.

“‘And Still We Rise’: Moral Panics, Dark Sousveillance, and Politics Otherwise in the new New Orleans.” In Panic, Transnational Cultural Studies, and the Affective Contours of Power, ed. Micol Seigel. Routledge, 2018.

‘There is NO Justice in Louisiana’: Crimes Against Nature and the Spirit of Black Feminist Resistance.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics and Society 19, no. 3 (2017): 261- 285.

“On Moments, Movements, and Women’s Work.” Syndicate, Symposium on Gary Dorrien’s The New Abolition(2017).

“The War on Drugs is a War on Relationships: Crossing the Borders of Fear, Silence and HIV Vulnerability in the Prison-Created Diaspora.” Beyond Walls and Cages: Bridging Prison Abolition and Immigrant Justice Movements, eds. Jenna Loyd, et al. University of Georgia Press, 2012.

“HIV, Addiction, and Justice: Toward a Qur’anic Theology of Liberation.” In Islam and AIDS: Between Scorn, Pity, and Justice, eds. Farid Esack and Sarah Chiddy. Oneworld, 2009.