Krystal Strong

Assistant Professor of Black Studies in Education
Educational Theory Policy & Administration
10 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Dr. Krystal Strong is Assistant Professor of Black Studies in Education in the Education, Culture, and Society program. Dr. Strong holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from University of California, Berkeley, and is the recipient of multiple awards including a 2022-23 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, a 2017 Council on Anthropology and Education Presidential Early Career Fellowship, an I.I.E. Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. A longtime community organizer, she brings commitments to social justice and the lessons of grassroots activism to her scholarship and pedagogy. Her research and teaching draw upon ethnographic, participatory, and multimodal methods to investigate youth and community activism, global Black social movements, and the role of education as a site of struggle in Africa and the African Diaspora.

Her first book project, Apprentices to Power: Students and the Anti-Radicalism of Leadership in Nigeria After Democracy, is an ethnography of post-military university student politics and the trappings of leadership after Nigeria’s transition to democracy. Her co-edited volume, Contestations of Citizenship, Education, and Democracy in an Era of Global Change, will be published in the Routledge Critical Global Citizenship Education series. Other ongoing research projects investigate school protest and youth leadership development in Africa, and collaboratively document community-led organizing work around educational justice and Black communities in Philadelphia.

Her work has been published in Urban Education, Comparative Education Review, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Transforming Anthropology, NEOS, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Journal of Modern African Studies, and Feminist Anthropology. In 2020, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, on “The Youth Bulge in Africa: Considerations for U.S. Policy.” She has received grants and fellowships to support this research from the Spencer Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Mellon Foundation.

• Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
• B.A. in Individualized Study, Gallatin School, New York University

  • Expertise & Research Interest

    • Student and community activism

    • Youth leadership and cultural practices

    • Africa and the African diaspora

    • Global Black social movements

    • Anthropology of education and political anthropology

    • Social media and popular culture

    • Ethnographic, participatory, and multimodal research methods

  • Recent and Select Publications

    Kubow, Patricia, Nicole Webster, Krystal Strong, and Daniel Miranda (Eds). (Forthcoming, October 2022). Contestations of Citizenship, Education, and Democracy in an Era of Global Change: Children and Youth in Diverse International Contexts. Routledge Critical Global Citizenship Education Series. [Link: https://www.routledge.com/Contestations-of-Citizenship-Education-and-Democracy-in-an-Era-of-Global/Kubow-Webster-Strong-Miranda/p/book/9781032055138]

    Strong, Krystal and Jasmine Blanks Jones. (2022). “Come Correct: Itineraries of Discovery in Black Women’s Ethnographic Practice.” Feminist Anthropology. https://doi.org/10.1002/fea2.12102.

    Strong, Krystal, and Christiana Kallon Kelly. 2022. “Youth Leadership for Development: Contradictions of Africa’s Growing Leadership Pipeline.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 60 (2). Cambridge University Press: 217–38. doi:10.1017/S0022278X22000064. [Link: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies/article/abs/youth-leadership-for-development-contradictions-of-africas-growing-leadership pipeline/BF3D6AAA5676C7BC891F72B589C23964]

    Strong, Krystal. (2022). “The Transnational Youth Empowerment Paradox: African Youth Leadership and Movement Capture.” NEOS. 14 (1): https://acyig.americananthro.org/neosvol14iss1sp22/strong.

    Strong, Krystal, R. Nanre Nafziger, Juwon Sanyaolu, and Baba Aye. (2022). “From #EndSARS to Pan-African Solidarity: Building an Intergenerational and Transnational Movement Against State Violence.” The Forge: Organizing Strategy and Practice: https://forgeorganizing.org/article/endsars-pan-african-solidarity.

    Strong, Krystal and R. Nanre Nafziger. (2021). “Education for Black Liberation: Freire and Past/Present Pan-African Experiments.” Current Issues in Comparative Education. 23 (2): 39-54. https://doi.org/10.52214/cice.v23i2.8572

    Strong, Krystal. (2021). “A Requiem for Delisha and Tree Africa.” Anthropology News. 62 (5) September/October: 14-18. https://www.anthropology-news.org/articles/a-requiem-for-delisha-and-tree-africa/

    Strong, Krystal. (2020). “Love For My People: Some Reflections on Sheila Walker and Life-Affirming Anthropology. Transforming Anthropology. 28 (2). https://doi.org/10.1111/traa.12197 Nafziger, R. Nanre and Krystal Strong. (2020). “Revolutionary Vanguard No More? The Student Movement and the Struggle for Education and Social Justice in Nigeria.” In A. Choudry and S. Vally (Eds.), The University and Social Justice: Struggles Across the Globe (pp. 207-225). London: Pluto Press.

    Royston, Reginold and Krystal Strong. (2019). “Re-Territorializing Twitter: African Moments, 2010-2015” in A. de Kosnick and K. Feldman (Eds.), #Identity: Hashtagging, Race, Gender, Sex, and Nation (pp. 249-267). Michigan Press.

    Strong, Krystal. (2018). “Do African Lives Matter to Black Lives Matter? On Youth Uprisings and the Borders of Solidarity.” Urban Education. Urban Education in the Era of Black Lives Matter, 53(2), 265-285. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085917747097

  • Honors & Awards

    2022/23–National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for “Fast-Tracking Leaders: A Critical Ethnographic Study of Your Leadership Development in Africa”

    2022–Comparative and International Education Society African Diaspora Special Interest Group Ernest D. Morrell Emerging Scholar Award

    2021/22–Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Community-Based Archives Grant ($100,000) for “The MOVE Activist Archive” with The MOVE Organization and Paul Robeson House/West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

    2018/19–Spencer Foundation Small Grant ($50,000) for “Education and Social Change: Mapping Contemporary School Protests in Africa”

    2017/18–American Anthropological Association Council on Anthropology of Education Concha Delgado Gaítan Early Career Presidential Fellowship

    2013/14–Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

    2012/13–National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

    2010/11–Fulbright-Hays Research Award to Nigeria

  • Current Projects

    Dr. Strong is currently working on multiple research projects, which investigate the role of education in emergent struggles for political transformation in Africa, and collaboratively document community-led organizing work. Each of these projects incorporate elements of digital and public scholarship with the support of student and community collaborators and community and institutional partnerships.

    -Activism Beyond the Classroom: www.activismbeyondtheclassroom.com A course and digital platform co-designed with students and local community activists, which engages in participatory inquiry and public scholarship related to grassroots activism around education and social justice. The course features public writings and curricula, a mixtape, and a class podcast.

    -African Youth Leadership Study: www.africanyouthleadershipstudy.com A transnational critical ethnographic study and mapping project, which examines the growing relationship between educational development and the formation of a new leadership class in Africa with the support of a NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship award.

    -School Protests in Africa: www.schoolprotests.com A mixed methods study to track the incidence and causes of school-based protest in Africa since 2000, with support from the Spencer Foundation to make the database and map publicly accessible online.

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