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jayme canty

Jayme Canty, Ph.D.

Job title: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

Dr. Canty's research focuses on the social, economic and political experiences of Black queer women in the American South and creating a framework to establish a Black queer lesbian South.

Jayme Canty, Ph.D., is a former visiting iCubed scholar for the Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU. She is a native of North Carolina and academically groomed by the education of historically Black colleges/universities (HBCUs). She attended North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, and received both her master’s and doctorate at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

Her research focuses on the social, economic and political experiences of Black queer women in the American South and creating a framework to establish a Black queer lesbian South.

Q&A with Dr. Canty

Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little about your educational journey?

I'm a native of North Carolina. I grew up in a military family, so I grew up in Fayetteville and Raleigh. I joke that my educational journey started when my mother was pregnant, as she was obtaining her bachelor's degree at the same time. However, my academic curiosity was sparked while attending North Carolina A&T. Attending this institution was life changing for my academic journey. My professors planted a seed in me that helped me realize the contributions I could make to the study of Black women. From then, I decided to attend graduate school at the same institution my professors received their doctorate degrees. And, as they say, the rest is history.

When did you first fall in love with your field of study? What made you decide to work in academia?

While I was at North Carolina A&T, I fell in love with studying Black women and the political contributions of Black women. But, it was while attending graduate school when I was able to focus primarily on the Black feminist cannon that further solidified my love for my field of study. I knew I wanted to work in the academy after teaching my first class. Teaching in a field that brings me so much passion was a dream come true.

Can you explain the focus of your research?

My research focuses on the lived experiences of Black queer lesbian women in the American South. Specifically, I want to find what social, economic and political experiences Black queer lesbian women face and how institutions differ in the American South in comparison to other areas of the United States.

What attracted you to VCU? What are you most excited about in regards to VCU and Richmond?

I loved that VCU had such a diverse student population. I believe the diversity of the student body provides an opportunity for students to learn from one another during their matriculation at VCU. I am excited to work with the Richmond community, particularly to help with the LGBTQIA+ populations in this city.

Can you talk a little about your teaching philosophy? What do you most like about teaching?

I incorporate theory into praxis method within my classroom, facilitate a combination of critical and conflict pedagogy, and provide students the tools needed to draw their own academic conclusions. My philosophy of teaching emphasizes critical thinking, where students learn how to think, not what to think. I challenge students to expand their traditional notions associated with their own identity and certain major concepts. I also encourage students to apply various theoretical frameworks to modern day events.

What I love most about teaching are the interactions I have with students and what I actually learn from them. My classroom is not a one-sided discussion, but the ways that they can teach me as well. I love seeing them excited about a certain topic or reading and applying it to their own lived experiences. To take my research and academic interests within a classroom for my students to learn from is a transformative experience for me.

Can you tell us either a quirky fact about yourself or some of your hobbies?

One quirky fact about me is that I love creating playlists for any mood, genre or person. I used to make mix tapes and CDs a long time ago, and I still enjoy doing that now!