Ashanti was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. In 2011, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in History and Art Practice. Her undergraduate thesis explored the history of Japan’s nuclear energy program, focusing on the controversial use of American nuclear fuel in the 1970s.
At Yale, Ashanti studies the history of ecology and environmental history in the Pacific region. Her dissertation, tentatively titled, “Alien Ecologies: Conservation and Identity in Twentieth-century Hawai‘i,” focuses on the history of “species mixing” and invasion biology in the islands. Ashanti will use the national parks as a case study to explore the relationship between ecological categories, conservation practices, and the people of Hawai‘i. Her research and travel has been supported by the Richard U. Light Foundation, the MacMillan Center, the National Science Foundation, and the Bogaty/Crowley Fund for Japanese History and Japanese Studies.
Ashanti is committed to building community around social justice issues. She is active in the Asian American community at Yale and helped found the History, Science, and Justice Collective. She chairs the Earth and Environment Forum (EEF) of the History of Science Society, and contributes to the following online initiatives: Teach311.org, and Seeds: New Research in Environmental History.
Primary interests: history of ecology, environmental history, Asian American history, Pacific Islander studies, Asian studies, STS, visual studies, colonialism and occupation.