Erin Gray , Ph.D.

Erin Gray , Ph.D.

Erin Gray

Position Title
Assistant Professor

  • American Studies

Erin Gray is a post-disciplinary cultural historian and political theorist focusing on the relationship between politics, aesthetics, and critical theory. Her research interests include political violence and left counter-histories of genocide; visual and performance studies; aesthetics and experimental poetics; gender studies and feminist epistemology; critical race studies; the black radical tradition and critiques of racial capitalism; historiography and history from below; affect, sentiment, sensation, and biopolitics.

Erin’s research is presently focused on gendered racial formations within the photographic history of global white supremacy. Her current book project, The Moving Image of Lynching: Law-Founding Violence and Liberal Terror in the United States, engages the circulation of lynching across such media forms as the postcard, pamphlet, photography exhibition, magazine spread, newsreel, sound installation, and live and recorded reenactment to theorize an altered history of white supremacist violence in the U.S. Focusing on the co-emergence of legal lynching and racial liberalism, the manuscript theorizes the image of lynching as a dialectical object that illuminates the constitutive relationship of extra-legal terror to racial capitalism and U.S empire.

Prior to her appointment at UC Davis, Erin taught in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University as a Provost postdoctoral fellow. From 2017-2018, Erin was a University of California President’s postdoctoral fellow in African American Studies at UC Irvine. She has twice been awarded fellowships from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.