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Dec 14 | Queering Black Women’s History by Beverly Guy-Sheftall with a special commemoration of Michele Wallace
The Audre Lorde/Essex Hemphill Memorial Lecture
Queering Black Women’s History
Sponsored by IRADAC and the Africana Studies Certificate Program.
December 14, 2017, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Martin Segal Theatre
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. For many years she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she taught graduate courses in Women’s Studies. At the age of sixteen, she entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education.
She has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies which have been noted as seminal works by other scholars, including the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature (Doubleday, 1980), which she coedited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith; her dissertation, Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward Black Women, 1880-1920 (Carlson, 1991); Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought (New Press, 1995); an anthology she co-edited with Rudolph Byrd entitled Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality (Indiana University Press, 2001); a book coauthored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities (Random House, 2003); an anthology, I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, co-edited with Rudolph P. Bryd, Johnnetta B. Cole, and Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press, 2009); an anthology, Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies (Feminist Press, 2010), with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster. Her most recent publication (SUNY Press, 2010) is an anthology co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole, Who Should Be First: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign. In 1983 she became founding co-editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal of Black Women which was devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent. She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).
Michele Faith Wallace is a feminist author and daughter of artist Faith Ringgold. She became famous in 1979 when, at age 27, she published Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman, a book in which she criticized black nationalism and sexism. Her writings on literature, art, film, and popular culture have been widely published and have made her a “leader of a [new] generation of African-American intellectuals.” The cogency, focus, and insightfulness of Wallace’s essays on visual culture and its relationship to race and gender is typified by “Modernism, Postmodernism and the Problem of the Visual in Afro-American Culture” and her afterword in the book Black Popular Culture (based on a groundbreaking conference organized by Wallace at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1991): “Why Are There No Great Black Artists? The Problem of Visuality in African-American Culture”. Her attention to the invisibility and/or fetishization of Black women in art, film, and television has inspired new critical thinking about race and gender in popular culture, particularly in what she has called “the gap around the psychoanalytic” in contemporary African-American critical discourse. Books like Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, for example, have been a galvanizing and highly influential force in both African-American and feminist circles. The real power of Wallace’s writing-a commanding force evident in works as diverse as her essays on film and literature both for scholarly journals and popular essays, such as for the Village Voice-is a clarity and rigor that allows her to reach a broad and committed audience. Wallace earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from The City College of New York and has a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University. She is Professor of English at The City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York. (Source – wikipedia)
The Lorde/Hemphill lecture commemorates the lives of the American poets, Audre Lorde (1934-1992) and Essex Hemphill (1957-1995) and encourages exciting scholarship and literary production within the communities to whom their poetry and prose spoke.
This event is free and open to the public.
Please join us for a conversation with Eric Lott, Alexandra T. Vazquez, and Ivy Wilson on Monday, December 4, 4-6pm in room 9204/9205
Cultural historian Eric Lott has written and lectured widely on the politics of U.S. literature, music, performance, and intellectual life. He received his Ph.D. in English from Columbia University and taught for more than twenty years at the University of Virginia, where he was director of graduate studies in English from 1997 to 2000. He has published dozens of articles, essays, and reviews in books and journals such as the Village Voice, the Nation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Social Text, PMLA, Representations, and American Quarterly. His book Black Mirror: The Cultural Contradictions of American Racism was recently published by Harvard University Press, and he is also the author of The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual (2006) and Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (1993), which won the MLA’s Best First Book Prize, among other awards, and recently appeared in a twentieth-anniversary edition. He is on the editorial board of Criticism.
Alexandra T. Vazquez’s research and teaching interests focus on music, Caribbean aesthetics and criticism, U.S. Latina/o and Latin American Studies, race and ethnicity, and feminist theory. Her book, Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music (Duke University Press 2013), won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Book Prize in 2014. Her work has been featured in the journals small axe, American Quarterly, Social Text, women and performance, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies; and in the edited volumes Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, Reggaeton, and Pop When the World Falls Apart. Vazquez is currently working on a new book called Florida Water.
Ivy Wilson teaches courses on the comparative literatures of the black diaspora and U.S. literary studies with a particular focus on African-American culture at Northwestern University where he is associate professor of English and Art, Theory, and Practice as well as director of the Program in American Studies. He has published a number of books on nineteenth-century American literary studies including Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Politics (Oxford UP, 2011) and, most recently, the essay collection Unsettled States (NYU P, 2014) with Dana Luciano.
Please join the Center for the Humanities on Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30 pm for “Culture Capture: A Screening of The Violence of a Civilization Without Secrets,” a screening and discussion with filmmakers Adam and Zack Khalil and artist Jackson Polys on their recent collaboration The Violence of a Civilization Without Secrets in the James Gallery at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Anne Spice (Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY) will respond to the film’s provocations from an anthropological perspective and towards a decolonial praxis with recent political actions in mind.
Co-sponsored by the Doctoral Students’ Council at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and the James Gallery.