Akua Agyen is a third-year joint degree student in the School of Social Welfare and in the Department of Anthropology. Akua came to UCLA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University where they earned a Masters of International Relations with a concentration in gender analysis and human security. At UCLA, Akua studies how institutions tasked with care enact violence in Black communities. More specifically, through ethnography, feminist science and technology studies, and Black feminist theory, they explore historical legacies of racism in medicine and law in the U.S. and enduring contemporary structural oppression in hospital-based sexual assault response. Akua does this work with the aim of reimagining models of care that are Black feminist, queer, and abolitionist. This fall, they will join the Social Welfare program to train as a therapist.
Akua moved to Los Angeles from Boston two years ago to start their PhD, and is originally local* to many places. They are local to the DMV, the Tri-City area of Illinois, Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Accra, Ghana. In her free time, Akua enjoys reading speculative fiction, caring for their plants, and exploring new ice cream recipes.
*If you’re curious about this framing of home or origins, watch Taiye Selasi’s TED talk “Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local.”