I am a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, where I teach classes on chocolate and food politics, black ethnic diversity, and race and technology. My current historical and ethnographic research projects focus on the politics of cacao and chocolate in global perspective and language, music, and digital media in the former Portuguese colonies.
A social anthropologist with interdisciplinary interests that include history, ethnomusicology, and linguistics, I received my Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University in 2012. My doctoral dissertation, entitled "Sounding Creole: The Politics of Cape Verdean Language, Music, and Diaspora," examines the longstanding problem of language inequality in Cape Verde and its large diaspora and how scholars and creative artists have both perpetuated and challenged this inequality. Historical and ethnographic research charts the elements of language, race, gender, and social class expressed through music and the arts into the sociopolitical world of which they are a part and analysis probes the ongoing, fruitful interventions and subversions made by Cape Verdean performers in debates surrounding the meaning of womanhood, "Africanness," and "Creoleness."
While completing my dissertation, I began conducting research on the global cacao and chocolate industry, particularly in relation to the ethical issues that impact farmers, producers, and consumers of one of the world's most popular sweets. Since 2011, I have maintained a scholarly blog on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food at Bittersweet Notes. This blog, along with my social media activity via Twitter and Facebook brings together my interests in culture, social engagement, and digital media.
For several years, I have worked with Cape Verdean communities in Africa, Europe, and the United States on a variety of ethnographic and archival research and social engagement projects. My writing, editing, and translation work has been published in The Root, Transition Magazine, Sodade Magazine, and The Savannah Review (forthcoming). I have taught extensively in African and African American Studies, social anthropology, and ethnomusicology, and have received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching. Prior to the Ph.D., I received an A.M. in Anthropology in 2007 and an A.B. in Anthropology in 2003, also from Harvard University.
My e-mail address is cdmartin at post dot harvard dot edu.