Vannessa is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford in U.S. history with an interest in racial capitalism, science and technology studies, and urban environmental inequality. Her dissertation traces the environmental and political history of metro Atlanta’s rapid economic development from the beginning of national urban renewal in 1949 to 1996 when the city cemented its status as a global hub after hosting the Centennial Olympics. In particular, she focuses on how Atlanta’s early and enthusiastic embrace of globalization and new urban planning and engineering trends led to great economic success and widespread celebration as the new “Black Mecca” for African American business and culture. Unfortunately, this progress came at the expense of the city’s most vulnerable communities and their local environments—the consequences of which Atlanta is struggling to overcome today.
Her research has been supported by numerous institutions, including the Stanford Humanities Center, the Eisenhower Institute, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the MIT SHASS Fellowship program.