As a feminist theorist trained as an historian, I believe in the time honored adage that we must know our histories to build the world we need. In that spirit, BCRW’s fall programs will explore our collective feminist archives, some more literal than others, using these histories to take inspiration from our past and imagine a more livable future.
Our journey into the archives will begin by exploring how the lives of visionary feminist leaders inform our understandings of past political moments as well as contemporary activist and scholarly work. We have the honor of hosting the New York City premiere of MAJOR!, a documentary film following the life and activism of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a 73-year-old Black transgender woman whose personal history offers a window into struggles for LGBTQ liberation, prison abolition, and police reform from the 1960s to the present. We will also host a day-long conference honoring and examining the legacy of Black feminist writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston in the works of contemporary scholars.
Later in the semester we will travel together into the physical archives to sort through photographs, letters, meeting minutes, and material objects, while keeping an eye on that which the archive silences and leaves out. Artist and writer Sabra Moore will guide us through the Barnard Archives and Special Collections to explore the role of art in the service of social justice movements from the 1970s to the 1990s. Later, in an intergenerational dialogue with Barnard alums, members of the Barnard College Class of 1971 and current students, we will reflect on the role of student activism on campus through an exhibit of material drawn from the Student Activist Archives of 1968-1971 and a film screening, which will take place against the backdrop one of the most important elections in US history.
This is just a glimpse of the archival journeys the fall semester has in store. I hope you will join us in rich dialogues across historical moments and generations to examine the legacies that have brought us to this time, and those that will shape how we dream, understand, and struggle toward the next.
With best wishes,
FALL 2016 EVENTS
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
Roslyn Silver ‘27 Science Lecture by Janna Levin
Thursday 10/20 6:30 – 8 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall
Black holes are dark. That’s their essence. That’s the defining feature that earned them a name. They are dark against a dark sky. They are a shadow against a bright sky. A telescope has never found one unadorned. Bare black holes – those too solitary to tear down sufficient debris – in their obliterating darkness are practically impossible to observe, but not entirely impossible. In this Silver Science Lecture, Janna Levin investigates the astronomer’s aspiration to detect black holes (and other cataclysmic events) that culminated in the discovery of the century: The first human-procured recordings of a gravitational-wave sound from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago.
Janna Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University, and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2013.
MAJOR! The New York City Premiere
A documentary film screening followed by a conversation with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy & filmmakers StormMiguel Flores and Annalise Ophelian
Co-hosted by the Office of Social Justice Initiatives at The New School
Tuesday 10/25 6:30 PM
Tishman Auditorium, The New School
63 5th Avenue (at 14th Street)
MAJOR! follows the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a 73-year-old Black transgender woman, a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion and organizer who has been fighting for the liberation of trans women of color for over 40 years. Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights, from mobile outreach and AIDS prevention to fighting the prison industrial complex, intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. The screening will include a Q&A with Miss Major and the filmmakers, Annalise Ophelian and StormMiguel Flores.
The screening will also feature the premiere of The Personal Stuff, a short animation about Miss Major, directed by Reina Gossett with art by Micah Bazant and animation by Pamela Chavez.
Hurston@125: Engaging with the Work and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston
A conference featuring Alex Alston, John L. Jackson, Jr., Meg McLagan, Adriana Garriga-Lopez, Tami Navarro, Mariel Rodney, Patricia Stuelke, Deborah Thomas, Sarah E. Vaughn, Bianca Williams, and Autumn Womack
Friday, 10/28 10 AM – 6:30 PM
Event Oval, The Diana Center
Zora Neale Hurston, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University, has received great acclaim for her literary work, particularly the highly influential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In honor of the 125th anniversary of her birth, BCRW celebrates Hurston’s legacy with a one-day symposium that brings together emerging scholars whose work builds upon Hurston’s less well-known training in anthropology and interdisciplinary modes of analysis and expression. The program will include panel discussions and a film screening of Hurston’s ethnographic work.
For more information and a full program, please visit bcrw.barnard.edu/hurston125
Openings and Archives: Art-Making and Movement Building
A Lunchtime Lecture by Sabra Moore
Tuesday 11/1 12 – 1 PM
Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall
Artist, writer, and activist Sabra Moore will read from her forthcoming memoir Openings and share original archival materials now housed in the Barnard College Archives and Special Collections. The collection and memoir feature over 180 different art works and 79 individual artists, covering a fascinating range of topics, from the documentation of WAR (Women Artists in Revolution), Women’s Services (the first legal abortion clinic in NY), and the Heresies Collective, to the 1984 demonstration against MoMA’s lack of inclusivity in its collections.
Activism In Context: An Intergenerational Dialogue on Organizing in the Shadow of the 2016 Elections
A conversation between Katherine Brewster ‘71 and Janet Price ‘71 and current Barnard College students, moderated by BCRW Senior Activist Fellow Katherine Acey
Tuesday 11/15 6:30 – 8 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall
This year’s historic 2016 election casts a long shadow over the history of feminist activism across different generations. The first in a series of dialogues with the classes of 1968 through 1974, this event will offer an opportunity for social justice feminists to engage in generative dialogues and share resources across generations. Among the resources discussed will be the Activist Archives of 1971, now housed at the Barnard College Archives and Special Collections and in the process of becoming digitized for greater accessibility.