Ayana Omilade Flewellen

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Black Feminist Theory, historical archaeology, maritime heritage conservation, public and community-engaged archaeology, processes of identity formations, memory, and representations of slavery.

Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, 2018

Ayana Omilade Flewellen (they/she) is a Black Feminist, an archaeologist, an artist scholar and a storyteller. Flewellen is the co-founder and current President of the Society of Black Archaeologists and sits on the Board of Diving With A Purpose.  They were selected for the inaugural 2021-2023 cohort Called By Water, directed by Sharon Bridgforth and Omi Oshun Jones, funded by Solidaire Networks’ Black Liberation Pooled Fund. In 2022 Ayana joined Stanford University’s Department of Anthropology as an Assistant Professor. Their current book project, tentatively titled The Will to Adorn: Black Women and Sartorial Choice After Enslavement  examines sartorial practices of self-making among African American tenant, sharecropping and landowning African Americans in post-emancipated Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. Sartorial practices, in this forthcoming work, are defined as social-cultural practices, shaped by many intersecting operations of power and oppression including racism, sexism, and classism, that involve modifications of the corporal form (e.g., scarification, body piercings and hair alteration), and all three-dimensional supplements added to the body (e.g., clothing, hair combs, jewelry).  Their artwork, like their archaeological scholarship, vacillates between the solidity of land and the liquidity of water. Rooting in the physicality of the ground, their adornments and small installation pieces are crafted from metal and stone. More recently, as their archaeological work has shifted from land to sea, her art practice has shifted to performance art centering on documenting submerged embodied practices of remembering.  They currently are the Co-PI of the Estate Little Princess Archaeology Project, an award-winning collaborative community engaged archaeological project based on the island of St. Croix, USVI.