BCRW Spring 2017 Newsletter: Upcoming Events on Black Feminism, Ethics of Being, and More

Director’s Note

Over the past few months we have witnessed a heightened sense of fear, shock, and vulnerability about our families, friends, and communities. Yet this moment has also amplified critical research and analysis, creative forms of resistance, deep strategizing, and a recognition of the power and resources we have at hand. While the political transition we face may seem unprecedented, we also know that in troubling ways, it is a legacy of the longer, uncomfortable history of our country. Focusing our attention on both the broader history we have inherited and the collective work we have ahead of us, BCRW’s spring programs use the critical frameworks of Black feminism, disability justice, and trans liberation politics to highlight the creative and intellectual projects we find critical to understanding our current political contexts and building the world we need.

In February, our annual book salon pays tribute to Christina Sharpe’s work on the afterlives of slavery and the survival of Black subjects despite relentless violence and negation through a rigorous engagement with Sharpe’s groundbreaking new book, In The Wake: On Blackness and Being. Later in the month, renowned Black feminist theorist Hortense Spillers hones in on the legal categorizations of race, gender, and family in 18th century U.S. history to illuminate the enduring traces of these definitions in systems producing and extracting value, life, and death. Finally, Award-winning historian, writer, and longtime activist Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, will give the 2017 Natalie Boymel Kampen Memorial Lecture in Feminist Criticism and History.

Our 42nd annual Scholar and Feminist Conference, Haptic Bodies: Performance, Embodiment and the Politics of Touch, assembles a group of artists, theorists and activists to think about how a focus on affect, embodiment and the senses/sensation might offer a path toward new practices of creating the society we want to live in. In April, we expand our exploration of embodied and performative practices by hosting a screening and discussion with filmmakers from Global Action Project, Trans Justice Funding Project, and Black Trans Media that showcases media made by and for trans people of color as an organizing and resiliency strategy. In May, BCRW will host an event in Oakland in collaboration with Sins Invalid and the Trans Life and Liberation Art Series focusing on art and politics at the intersections of disability justice and trans liberation.

We look forward to thinking, working, and building with you this semester and in the years to come.

With appreciation,

Tina Campt, Director

Activism in Context


Christina Sharpe, In the WakeIn the Wake: A Salon in Honor of Christina Sharpe
Christina Sharpe in conversation wih Hazel Carby, Kaiama Glover, Arthur Jafa, and Alex Weheliye
Thursday, February 2 | 6 PM
Event Oval, The Diana Center

Christina Sharpe’s paradigm shifting new work, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the “orthography of the wake.” Invoking the multiple meanings of the term “wake”—the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness—Sharpe details how Black lives are swept up and animated by the afterlives of slavery, and describes what survives despite insistent violence and negation. Formulating the wake and “wake work” as sites of artistic production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora, In the Wake offers a way forward. Join us for a captivating conversation with the author and three distinguished interlocutors.

Hortense Spillers

Shades of Intimacy: Women in the Time of Revolution
Helen Pond McIntyre ’48 Lecture by Hortense Spillers
Thursday, February 16 | 6 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall

In her trenchant analysis of U.S. history, literary critic and Black feminist scholar Hortense Spillers considers the aftermath of the notion of partus sequitur ventrem—the “American ‘innovation’ that proclaimed that the child born of an enslaved mother would also be enslaved.” In this lecture, Spillers will engage the idea of the “shadow” family as one of the tectonic shifts in the concept and practice of social relations in the New World from the 18th century forward. Her critical examination of this period of profound contradiction and change illuminate how dangerously hegemonic definitions of race, gender, and family took hold in ways that carry forward into the present.

Professor Spillers will also participate in an afternoon Graduate Student/Faculty Theory Salon from 12–2 PM at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University. Space is limited and reservations are required.

Haptic BodiesHaptic Bodies: Perception, Touch, and the Ethics of Being
The 42nd Annual Scholar and Feminist Conference
Featured speakers include Grisha Coleman, Carla Freccero, Kim Hall, and Gabri Christa Reid
Friday, March 3 | 6 PM and Saturday, March 4 | 10 AM – 6:30 PM
Event Oval, The Diana Center

hap·tic

ˈhaptik/
adjective technical
of or relating to the sense of touch, in particular relating to the perception and manipulation of objects using the senses of touch and proprioception [relative perception].

How are we, as global citizens, accountable to each other? This year’s Scholar and Feminist Conference explores the haptic—the perception and manipulation of objects using the sense of touch—as an ethics of being in the world. Feminist scholars, artists, and activists come together in this utterly unique two-day conference to examine the many ways in which touch helps us better understand the politics and aesthetics of embodiment, situatedness, and performance. Through a series of panels and artistic encounters, we consider how our senses—not only touch, but taste, sight, and sound—situate us as bodies in political and economic contexts (such as labor), as well as in personal and sensory ones.

Barbara Ransby Featured

An Evening with Barbara Ransby 
Natalie Boymel Kampen Memorial Lecture in Feminist Criticism and History
Monday, March 20 | 6:30 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall

Award-winning historian, writer, and longtime activist Barbara Ransby joins BCRW to give the 2017 Natalie Boymel Kampen Memorial Lecture in Feminist Criticism and History. Ransby is Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. Ransby is author of the highly acclaimed biography,Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, which received eight national awards and international recognition, and Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. As an activist, Ransby was an initiator of the African American Women in Defense of Ourselves campaign in 1991, a co-convener of The Black Radical Congress in 1998, and a founder of Ella’s Daughters, a network of women working in Ella Baker’s tradition.

Harmattan WindsHarmattan Winds: Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment
A Lunchtime Lecture by Belinda Archibong
Thursday, March 23 | 12 – 1 PM
BCRW, 101 Barnard Hall

Research on gender-based educational disparities in the Global South has focused on differential investment in the education of boys versus girls, higher costs and lower educational attainment among girls, and factors leading to these realities. In this lunchtime lecture, Belinda Archibong will extend this conversation to share her research on ways that public health and epidemics impact these gender-based disparities, focusing on the 1986 meningitis epidemic in Niger when investment in girls’ education decreased dramatically. Archibong will also share insights into what an intersectional analysis of gender, health, and educational disparities can offer in a time when climate change is expected to worsen the disease environment.

Shannen Dee WIlliamsThe Real Sister Act: Black Catholic Nuns and the Long Struggle to Desegregate U.S. Religious Life
A Lecture by Shannen Dee Williams
Tuesday, March 28 | 6:30 PM
Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall

Shannen Dee Williams, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is a historian of the United States and Black Catholic diaspora. Her research chronicles the epic journey of Black Catholic sisters in the United States from their fiercely contested beginnings in the 19th century to the present day. It also unearths the largely hidden history of Black sisters in the fight to dismantle racial and gender barriers in the U.S. church and wider American society.

Our Voices: Trans Stories, Trans Justice, Trans ResiliencyOur Voices: Trans Stories, Trans Justice, Trans Resiliency
Film screening and discussion with Luce Lincoln, Marin Watts, Sasha Alexander, and Olympia Perez
Tuesday, April 4 | 6 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall

In a time when transgender and gender nonconforming communities remain under attack, it is crucial to lift up stories of trans resiliency and power. This film screening and panel will highlight ways trans communities fight back, build community, and center the intersectional work essential to survival. Luce Lincoln of Global Action Project, Marin Watts of Trans Justice Funding Project, Olympia Perez and Sasha Alexander of Black Trans Media, and other social justice trans and gender nonconforming media makers will share work that highlights the legacy of trans leadership, organizing, and activism during this historic moment.

We Move TogetherWe Move Together: Disability Justice and Trans Liberation
Thursday, May 11
Oakland, CA

More information coming soon

Alicia GarzaAn Evening with Alicia Garza

More information coming soon

The Barnard Center for Research on Women engages our communities through programming, projects, and publications that advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and generate concrete steps toward social transformation.

© 2017 Barnard Center for Research on Women | 101 Barnard Hall | 3009 Broadway | New York, NY 10027