Black Women in White American, Revisited


In 1972, Dr. Gerda Lerner published her pioneering study Black Women in White America. That same year, Dr. Lerner and Dr. Joan Kelly Gadol were fighting to prove that women had a history worth recording by co-founding the oldest women’s history graduate program in the country at Sarah Lawrence College. In the political arena, a Black woman, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was waging a competitive campaign to become the first woman president of the United States and activists across the country were fighting an uphill (and ultimately unsuccessful) battle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Much has changed since 1972, and this fact makes 2017 a particularly opportune time to reassess the legacy of Gerda Lerner’s path-breaking scholarship. Does the adage “the more things change, they more they stay the same” apply in the case of Black women in America today? How has the expansion of scholarship by and about women of color enhanced our knowledge of women’s history and necessarily challenged previous assumptions? How has ongoing structural inequality undermined the gains of the women’s movement of the 1970s? What is the status of all women in a multiracial, multicultural, diversely religious but still deeply fractured America today?

We invite papers, panels, workshops, performances, and art exhibits from students, activists, artists, and academics that address these questions from a number of different angles. Proposals for panels will be given special consideration, but individual papers are also welcomed. Please include a description of each presentation and a one page c.v. for each presenter. Email submissions are preferred.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

Afro-Latinas in the Americas
Black women in the Criminal Justice System
Women’s activism in labor movements
Survival as a Form of Resistance
Black women and politics
Black women’s resistance against racism
Grass roots activism
Women’ professionals clubs
Education of girls and women
Sex work and sexual exploitation
Diverse women’s experiences with the healthcare system
Motherhood, race and ethnicity
Black women and reproductive rights
Women’s work across the African diaspora

Deadline for proposals:
December 9th, 2016
Contact: Tara James
Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY 10708
[email protected]

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