Black Feminist Scholars Speak: Pleasurable Musings on Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Black Feminist Scholars Speak: Pleasurable Musings on Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Posted on 10/20/2020

Dr. Tracey Sharpley-Whiting

9:30 AM

Jefferson’s Paradox, or A Very Brief History of Black Women’s Sexuality, Hip Hop, and American Culture

Historically and culturally, black women in the United States have been either dubiously represented in mainstream popular and political culture or erased. In black popular culture, particularly in the male-dominated culture of hip hop and its music, which crossed over into the American mainstream and marked its rise as a global phenomenon in the 1990s, black women have had the dubious distinction of being both misrepresented and overrepresented.  While debates about hip hop’s gender politics have raged since the 1970s, the 1990s onwards mark a disquieting turn in the cultural politics of representation of black women. But no discussion of the present, or future, is complete without engaging history. Unpacking the racialized sexism and sexualized racism directed towards black women requires a backward look—to the eighteenth century, the nation’s founding—in order to look forward into the twenty-first.

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies and French at Vanderbilt University, where she chairs the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies and directs the Callie House Research Center.

Click on the link here to watch the recording of Dr. Sharpley-Whiting’s lecture on Jefferson’s Paradox

Dr. Sharon P. Holland

12:30 PM

How to have a brief for Black women?

This talk is about the process of writing The Erotic Life of Racism and what it means, some years after its publication to think about writing with black women in mind. It is a meditation on the “how” in the question that is my title.
Dr. Sharon P. Holland is the chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is also the Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor of American Studies. 

Dr. Jennifer Nash

12:30 PM

Desiring Black Feminism: Thoughts on Black Feminism, Women’s Studies, and the US Academy

“Desiring Black Feminism” analyzes black feminist theory’s state as desirable commodity, as an increasingly densely trafficked space in the academy.  Rather than seeking to defend this territory, this talk tracks the long history of black feminism’s desirability, and tracks the possibilities of a critical black feminist ambivalence in the face of our status as both desirable and disavowed.
Jennifer C. Nash is the Jean Fox O’Barr Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She earned her PhD in African American Studies at Harvard University and her JD at Harvard Law School.  She is the author of The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (awarded the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association) and Black Feminism Reimagined (awarded the Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize by the National Women’s Studies Association).  She is also the editor of Gender: Love (Macmillan, 2016). She has published articles in GLQ, Social Text, Feminist Studies, Feminist Theory, Signs, and American Quarterly.
Click the link here to watch the video recording of Dr. Nash’s lecture on Desiring Black Feminism

Dr. Tara T. Green

Organizer and Moderator

Tara T. Green is Professor of Afircan American and African Diaspora Studies and the Linda Arnold Carlisle Excellence Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Dillard University in New Orleans and her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in African American literature, from Louisiana State University. She served as director of African American and African Diaspora Studies from 2008 to 2016. Before coming to UNCG, she taught at universities in Louisiana and Arizona.

Her research interests include Black femnist studies, African American autobiographies and fiction, Black southern studies, African literature, Black activism, and the U.S. Black diaspora. She has published numerous articles and made presentations in these areas of research. Her books From the Plantation to the Prison: African American Confinement Literature (Mercer UP, 2008), A Fatherless Child: Autobiographical Perspectives of African American Men (U of Missouri P, 2009; winner of 2011 National Council for Black Studies for Outstanding Publication in Africana Studies), Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song (Ohio UP, 2018; A 2019 Choice Outstanding Title in English and American Literature), reflect her interests in African American literary and interdisciplinary studies. Her book, See Me Naked: Black Women Defining Pleasure During the Interwar Erais under contract with Rutgers UP. Inspired by her fondness for New Orleans, she is completing a manuscript on Alice Dunbar-Nelson, a writer and activist from New Orleans. In addition to presenting locally and nationally, she has presented her research in England, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Dr. Green is a past president of the Langston Hughes Society and co-editor of Mercer University’s African Diaspora Studies book series. She has received awards and recognition for work as a scholar-educator and mentor. She also enjoys working with community organizations.