PhD Candidate

Dissertation Title: Death Work & The Body: Funeral Practices on Chicago’s Southside


LaShaya Howie is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation examines contemporary Black funeral practices in the United States by analyzing the material practices of death care, the prominence of the body, and the discourses and imaginaries surrounding such practices. It posits funeral practices as vital sites of Black social life. Ethnographically located in funeral homes in Chicago, this research foregrounds the varied perspectives of death care professionals who care for the body in death and also tend to the bereaved. LaShaya’s teaching and research background demonstrate experience and interest in a range of topics and methodologies including archival methods, ethnographic methods, Black/Africana Studies, and museology.

LaShaya is a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF-DDRIG); the Social Science Research Council (SSRC-Dissertation Proposal Development Program); the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; and the University of Chicago’s Social Sciences Division. LaShaya previously earned an MA in Africana Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies from NYU’s Department of Social & Cultural Analysis and is an alumna of Howard University where she earned a BA in Afro-American Studies.