Jessi Quizar, PhD

Jessi Quizar Assistant Professor
Northern Arizona University
Ethnic Studies
Blg SBS West Bldg 70 Rm #220
Phone: 928-523-3886


MA Sociology (emphasis in Global and Regional International Development), University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Professional Interests:

  • Black-led urban agriculture
  • Race and struggles over urban space
  • Food sovereignty
  • Grassroots development
  • Black social movements

Recent publications:


Quizar, Jessi (forthcoming). Farming in the D: Urban Agriculture and Black Self Determination in Detroit. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.


Quizar, Jessi (forthcoming, 2018). “Working to Live: Black-Led Farming in Detroit’s Racialized Economy” in Nishime, LeiLani and Williams, Kim D. Hester (Eds.), Racial Ecologies. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Academic Interests and Affiliations:

My research focuses on race and struggles over the urban environment. I center two areas: 1) political ecologies of U.S. cities and 2) what Robin D.G. Kelly has called “freedom dreams” with regard to urban space—that is, the aspirations, theorizing, planning, and experimentation by people of color in the United States to claim and shape their cities, neighborhoods, and communities. 

I am in the final stages of developing a book manuscript entitled Farming in the D: Urban Agriculture and Black Self-Determination in Detroit. This project focuses on the use of urban agriculture by Black communities in Detroit as a tool towards greater individual and collective self-determination. I argue that Black urban farmers in the city, drawing on long legacies of struggle for Black power in the city, use urban agriculture as a way to secure forms of autonomy and survival and to claim and shape urban space.

I have been on the working board of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association since 2016.