Welcome to the home of the Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context project.

The project aims to bring together interdisciplinary and cross-national dialogue among scholars and activists in the fields of literary studies, history, politics, and visual culture from the UK, US, Australia, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa working on transatlantic black female intellectuals (both from an historical and contemporary perspective) in the black diaspora. 

Latest Events

Video: "Transnational Morrison" with Dr Hilary Emmett

 

The concept of author Toni Morrison as a transnational figure was the subject of the final event of the Black Female Intellectuals project on 19 May 2021. The lecture was given by Dr Hilary Emmett (UEA) and chaired by Dr Nicole King (Goldsmiths).

 

'Transnational Morrison'

 

The concept of author Toni Morrison as a transnational figure will be the subject of the final event of the Black Female Intellectuals project on 19 May.

Titled ‘Transnational Morrison’, the online talk will be delivered by Associate Professor Dr Hilary Emmett from the School of Art, Media, and American Studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The event will be chaired by Dr Nicole King, Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Dr Emmett’s talk will offer a reading of Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer-prize winning author and essayist, Toni Morrison, as a public intellectual of not only international standing but as a transnational figure. She will explore the ways in which Morrison not only achieved international recognition for her fiction and non-fiction writing in her lifetime, but that her ways of writing and conceptualising race have permeated the work of other Black authors and public intellectuals around the globe.

In particular, the paper will focus on the work of women writers and artists of Indigenous Australian and Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) descent by reading their novels and artworks through the lens of Morrison’s creative and critical writings. Dr Emmett will examine their explorations of anti-Black racism in Australia and consider the ways in which the resonances of Morrison’s work in theirs may be understood not simply as aesthetic influence, but as a political move that draws attention to the structural similarities between Australia and the United States in relation to histories of anti-Black racism, coerced labour, and incarceration.

The ultimate aim of the talk is to offer some strategies for comparison such that texts by Indigenous Australian and ASSI women become commonplace on the curriculum in American studies and beyond.

The talk will be followed by an opportunity for a question and answer session.

Dr Hilary Emmett joined UEA in 2012, having studied and taught at universities in Australia and the USA. Her research engages a variety of fields from the rhetoric of sisterhood in the Early American Republic to nineteenth and twentieth century children's literature. Her current teaching and research focus is on the Transpacific relationships of literatures of the United States and Australia and includes a co-authored project, with Assoc. Prof. Clare Corbould (Deakin University), on Australian Afterlives of Atlantic Slavery.

Dr Nicole King was appointed by Goldsmiths in 2017, having previously been Lecturer in American and Caribbean literature at the University of Reading, visiting lecturer at Brunel University, Associate Professor of African American and Caribbean literature at the University of California, San Diego, and Assistant Professor of African American and Caribbean literature at the University of Maryland. Dr King is the author of C.L.R. James and Creolization: Circles of Influence (University Press of Mississippi, 2001) and is currently writing Black Childhood in Modern African American Fiction (2022) which is under contract with Edinburgh University Press. 

She has published essays on African American identities and literature, detective fiction, Caribbean literature, Black British fiction and teaching literature in higher education. In 2019 she appeared on the BBC Two television series, ‘Novels That Shaped Our World’ and served as the historical consultant on the acclaimed London production of Death of a Salesman.’ Since 2014 she has been a Trustee and Fellow of the English Association and she serves on the board of Moon Lane Ink, a not-for-profit company dedicated to raising equality in children’s books.

The talk takes place online at 4pm on Wednesday 19 May. Event attendees will be emailed a link to follow the day before the event. To register your attendance, visit the Eventbrite page before 9am on 18 May. The event will be recorded for use by the project online afterwards.

The Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context project, led by Dr Rebecca Fraser (UEA) and Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE), aims to bring together interdisciplinary and cross-national dialogue among scholars and activists in the fields of literary studies, history, politics, and visual culture from the UK, US, Australia, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa working on transatlantic black female intellectuals (both from an historical and contemporary perspective) in the black diaspora.

Video: In Conversation with Prof Shirley Anne Tate

 

Renowned academic Prof Shirley Anne Tate discussed her research and experience as a black female intellectual in a Black Female Intellectuals Network event online on 27 January 2021.

In conversation with Prof Shirley Anne Tate, 27th January 4-6pm

 

Renowned academic Prof Shirley Anne Tate will discuss her research and experience as a black female intellectual at the next Black Female Intellectuals Network event online on 27 January.

Shirley Anne Tate is Canada Research Chair Tier 1 (designate) in Feminism and Intersectionality and Professor in the Sociology Department, University of Alberta, Canada. Her area of research is Black Diaspora Studies focusing on institutional racism, decoloniality, bodies and mixed race.

Prof Tate will talk about her life as a Black Female Intellectual in the academy and research with Dr Imaobong Umoren, followed by a question and answer session with the digital audience.

The event takes place at 4pm on 27 January online. Event attendees will be emailed a link to follow the day before the event. To register your attendance, visit the Eventbrite page before 9am on 26 January. The event will be recorded for use by the project online afterwards.

The Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context project, led by Dr Rebecca Fraser (UEA) and Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE), aims to bring together interdisciplinary and cross-national dialogue among scholars and activists in the fields of literary studies, history, politics, and visual culture from the UK, US, Australia, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa working on transatlantic black female intellectuals (both from an historical and contemporary perspective) in the black diaspora. 

Video: watch “The Need for More Room in the Room for Debate”

 

Renowned American academic and legal scholar Prof Patricia Williams delivered the keynote lecture at a public lecture for the UEA and LSE 'Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context' in London on 19 February 2020. The event was chaired by Dr Nicola Rollock, who also lead a question and answer session with Prof Williams.

The Need for More Room in the Room for Debate

 

Renowned American academic and legal scholar Prof Patricia Williams will deliver the keynote lecture at the next Black Female Intellectuals project event in London on 19 February.

The event, which takes place on 19 February at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will be chaired by Dr Nicola Rollock, who will also lead a question and answer session with Prof Williams.

Titled ‘The Need for More Room in the Room for Debate’, Prof Williams said of the lecture: “The metaphors of civic belonging are vexed. We speak of ‘sitting down at the table together’ and of ‘all being in the room’ when we envision diversity of viewpoint in democratic projects. We imagine working together in collaborative space and real time. Yet political bodies, corporate bodies, civic bodies, operate according to the same rules that mark, rank, divide and exclude our embodied selves from schools, jobs, safe spaces. 

“This lecture will undress some of the ideological and technological ordering systems - of race, gender, class, nationalism and presumed genetic superiority - that are driving heightened disparities in local, institutional, and global affairs.”

Prof Williams, one of the most provocative intellectuals in American law and a pioneer of both the law and literature and critical race theory movements in American legal theory, holds a joint appointment at Northeastern University between the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

She has published widely in the areas of race, gender, literature and law. Her books, including The Alchemy of Race and Rights (Harvard University Press, 1991), illustrate some of America’s most complex societal problems and challenge our ideas about socio-legal constructs of race and gender.

The Alchemy of Race and Rights was named one of the 25 best books of 1991 by the Voice Literary Supplement; one of the “feminist classics of the last 20 years” that “literally changed women’s lives” by Ms. magazine; and one of the 10 best non-fiction books of the decade by Amazon.com. Prof Williams’ other books include The Rooster’s EggSeeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race and Open House: On Family, Food, Piano Lessons, and The Search for a Room of My Own.

Prof Williams has authored hundreds of essays, book reviews and articles for leading journals, popular magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian, Ms., The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Washington Post. She authors a widely read monthly column in The Nation under the name The Mad Law Professor.

She has held fellowships at Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of California, and Stanford University, and previously served as the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She has received awards from the American Educational Studies Association and the National Organization for Women, among others. In 2019, she was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2000, Prof Williams was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Prof Williams’ current research agenda includes three books in progress: The Complete Mad Law Professor (compilation of The Nation columns - forthcoming 2019); The Talking Helix (focused on bioethics and genetics - forthcoming 2020); and Gathering the Ghosts (a literary and historical text based on Professor Williams’ family archival materials - draft manuscript). In addition, she is working on a documentary film that knits together a narratively linked series of video images about the deaths of unarmed citizens beginning with Trayvon Martin.

The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session with Prof Williams, chaired by Dr Nicola Rollock. Dr Rollock is an academic, consultant and public speaker specialising in racial justice in education and the workplace. She was appointed, at the start of 2019, as the Specialist Adviser to the Home Affairs’ Select Committee inquiry - the Macpherson Report 20 Years On - which is examining whether there has been progress in meeting the 70 recommendations published in 1999.

Her most recent research examines the career experiences and strategies of UK Black female Professors, the findings of which were widely covered in the press including WonkHEThe Guardian, Stylist magazine and British Vogue.

Dr Rollock is a member of the Wellcome Trust’s Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group and the British Science Association’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Group. She is also a judge for the JP Morgan sponsored ‘Stories of Black Leadership’ series which showcases successful Black female leaders and for the Powerlist of Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage.

The lecture takes place from 6.30-8pm on Wednesday 19 February, at the Workspace 2, LSE Life, LSE Library (ground floor), London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE. Those wishing to attend must register in advance via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-need-for-more-room-in-the-room-for-debate-tickets-81931002835.