New Video Release: BCRW Activist Fellows on Queer and Trans Movement Visions and Legacies

As LGBTQTSGNCI History month draws to a close, BCRW is excited to share our newly released videos with Activist Fellows Reina Gossett, Dean Spade, and Amber Hollibaugh on challenges and strategies for transformative organizing in queer and trans movements.

Reina Gossett talks about learning and sharing histories of trans women of color, including  Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), as a strategy to transform and heal from historical isolation and erasure.

Amber Hollibaugh talks about a the importance of a liberation framework centering low-income people and people of color for LGBTQ organizing.

Dean Spade talks about the dramatic shifts in queer and trans movements over the last 50 years with the emergence in the 1990s of a highly visible and well-funded gay rights movement whose demand for inclusion in hate crime legislation and police protection goes against queer and trans community-based grassroots organizing to end police and state violence since the 1960s.

These videos are the product of interviews conducted by BCRW Creative Director Hope Dector and BCRW Activist Fellow Dean Spade at the 2013 conference Queer Dreams and Non-Profit Blues, co-convened by BCRW and the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School.

PHOTOS of Caribbean Feminisms on the Page: Edwidge Danticat and Victoria Brown

On September 17, we were privileged to be joined by Caribbean writers Edwidge Danticat and Victoria Brown for the second event in our series, Caribbean Feminisms on the Page (video available here).

Here are some photos from the night:

Edwidge Danticat

Victoria Brown

Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat and Victoria Brown

Caribbean Feminisms on the Page places distinguished writers in conversation with emerging authors to discuss issues including feminism, diaspora, and method. Stay tuned for our next event in the series by signing up for our email list.

Digital Translations of Quisqueya

This semester, BCRW will host a plethora of events on transnational feminisms and activism in the Caribbean. 

Here you will find student-generated content on topics ranging from feminism to political economy on the island of Quisqueya, more commonly known as Hispaniola. I hope that they can serve as resources for research or just getting to know more about such topics after attending talks such Caribbean Feminisms on the Page with Edwidge Danticat ‘90 and Victoria Brown, or “Easy Money and Respectable Girls: Neoliberalism and Expectation in the US Virgin Islands” with Tami Navarro.

Digital Translations of Quisqueya

Last semester, I was in Professor Maja Horn and Professor Kaiama Glover’s team-taught course “Translating Hispaniola.” In this course, we explored the ways in which the transnational  histories of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have influenced present times. The course culminated in the creation of a digital humanities project.

Map of Quisqueya

Protesters taking a stand against the Dominican Republic’s mass deportation of Haitian people

For this class, we used a variety of resources from films such as “Des hommes et des dieux” (Of Men and Gods), fictional works by Edwidge Danticat ‘90 and Junot Diaz, legal documents, and news articles, and we were able to delve into an interdisciplinary study of the island of Hispaniola. In addition to the texts and films we worked with, we also attended weekly lectures with scholars such as Ginetta Candelario and Carlos U. Decena, who were also kind enough to direct us in our research.

Some of the topics we explored included the Haitian-Dominican border crises 1937 and 2013, colonial Hispaniola, US imperial interventions and their gendered implications, and literary engagements with dictatorship.

Working in teams of four, we carefully curated and developed timelines on topics such as  sex tourism on Hispaniola, queerness in Hispaniola, dictatorship and economy, and women’s political engagement.

Along the way of completing such research, there were many challenges ranging from language barriers to researching topics that there is very little to no academic scholarship on. Nonetheless, we were able to complete our research and create our timelines, which you can see below:

Queering Hispaniola

Zachary Etheart
Karina Jougla
Salma Nakhlawi
Nichelle Watkins

Sex Tourism on Hispaniola

Erasmia Gorla
Sarah Freedman
Katherina Barguil
Maria Paley

The Economy Under Dictators

Olukemi Adeniji
Danique McGowan
Katherine Castro
Yarimar Gonzalez

Women of Hispaniola: Female Political Engagement

Cinneah El-Amin
Wilda Escarfuller
Nina Anacaona Mency Reign
Elina Rodriguez

-Salma Nakhlawi ‘17

Salma Nakhlawi is an Africana Studies major at Barnard College and a Research Assistant at the BCRW.

What We’re Reading at BCRW, the Throwback Edition

For our October edition of What We’re Reading at BCRW series, we have taken a nostalgic turn. All of our suggestions on books, movies, tv shows, music this time around are recommendations to our 18-year-old selves. What culture bites do we wish we’d been consuming as incoming college freshman or newly independent adults?


Carly, Che and Tina all recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is a favorite of ours for a lot of reasons, but Tina put it well: “Had I had the Buffy series in my life at age 18, I would have been fierce. Buffy is deeply queer, deeply feminist, deeply fierce!”

Carly and DaMonique love love Friday Night Lights. It’s a heartfelt, seriously good drama series that is about so much more than football. Carly credits FNL with providing her enough emotional support to make it through the final edits of her senior thesis.

DaMonique also thinks all college kids should check out A Different World.


And now, we bring you an onslaught of book recommendations.

DaMonique has been reading and rereading Loraine Hainburry’s To Be Young, Gifted and Black all summer. (Also, check out Nina Simone’s song of the same name!)

things fall apartAvi recommends Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison. According to Avi, Allison’s book insists that the experiences and knowledge from our lives—particularly our embodied knowledge—is valuable and worthy of consideration, especially in intellectual environments.

Tami provided us these offerings: “I’d recommend reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart to my younger self. It’s beautifully written and gives an introduction to many of the themes (race, colonialism, violence—structural and otherwise) that would come to shape my academic work.”

Che found Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness engaging, in every sense of the word.

Melissa often finds herself returning to the beautiful, wise prose of All About Love by bell hooks. (Seriously, check out All About Love’s goodreads quotes page.)

Emma loved Calling Dr. Lauraa graphic novel by Nicole J. Georges.

Dania recommends Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

On the music front, Tami gave us this: “I think all people attempting something exciting and potentially scary (like starting college!) should listen to Sondre Lerche’s ‘Everyone’s Rooting for You’.”

And Kat recommends the thoughtful sex-positivity of Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’s web series.