My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.
— Audre Lorde
Laura Krystal Porterfield, Ph.D.

Laura Krystal Porterfield, Ph.D.

I am an urban educator, Black feminist, visualist, and youth culture scholar. I grew up in El Paso, Texas, and am the daughter of two Mississippi transplants who instilled in me the value and promise of higher education. I am a fierce youth advocate who believes it is my life's work to prepare inspiring and quality future educators and to demand equitable educational opportunity for all.

Professional Background: I am currently an Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Foundations in the Educational Foundations Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. My research is inherently inter-disciplinary, drawing primarily from education, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, and geography. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how youth learn about varying forms of human difference from visual texts and from their everyday spaces/places. I received my B.A. in English with a concentration in African/African-American Literature from the University of Rochester and my Ph.D. and M.A. in Urban Education from Temple University. I taught with the Philadelphia Freedom Schools, coached at Philadelphia high schools in a number of capacities (Speech & Debate, Varsity Boys and Girls Field), and worked in the Youth Programming and Development sector for 10 years in Rochester, NY, and Philadelphia, PA. In addition to my current faculty position at UW-Whitewater, I am also a member of the University of Wisconsin-System Institute for Urban Education's Executive Committee and Research Team, and a board member of the International Visual Sociological Association. 

Areas of consulting expertise: Culturally-Relevant Teaching; Cultural Competence; Race and Racism in Higher Education; Race and Representation; K-12 Curricular Differentiation; Urban Schools; Black Girls and Young Women; Youth Development, Programming, and Curriculum-Writing; Cultural Needs-Assessment; Ethnographic and Qualitative Research; Implicit Bias; International Education; Photography as Research Method; Participatory Youth Research

Publications, awards, or accomplishments

2017-2018  UW-Whitewater Women in Leadership Honoree

2017. Porterfield, L. (Re)Seeing Black Girls: Intersections of Liberalism, Difference, and the Hidden Curriculum. (Visual Studies, doi: 10.1080/1472586X.2017.1363637).

2017. Porterfield, L., Campbell, A. Socializing Black Girls: Analyzing Discourses of Global Citizenship and Participation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Visual Sociological Association, Montreal, Quebec, CA.

2017. Nix, T., Porterfield, L., Cançado, L.  Developing The Teacher Candidate Cultural Awareness, Relevancy, and Evidence Scale (TC-CARES). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

2015. Edmunds, K., Pearsall, H., & Porterfield, L. Narrowing pathways? Exploring the spatial dynamics of postsecondary STEM preparation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Urban Review.

2013. Porterfield, L.  Hidden in plain sight: Race, place, gender, and the hidden curriculum of everyday visual culture. Temple University: Philadelphia.

If it can be done, you can do it.

— Dad