2017 Black Studies Fall Conference
This Is Not Your Grandfather's Black Studies: Centering Pleasure and Anti-Respectability as Methodology
University of Missouri, Columbia
Marlon Bailey, Arizona State University
Ruth Nicole Brown, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Friday, October 13
8-8:40am Welcome, MU Student Center, Room 2206
8:45am Opening Remarks and Introduction
Stephanie Shonekan, Department Chair, Black Studies, School of Music
Christina Carney, Conference Chair, Black Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies
9-10:15am – Panel I: The Black Church & Religious Institutions, MU Student Center, Room 2206
Moderator: Daive Dunkley, Black Studies, University of Missouri
Angela Nelson, Bowling Green State University, “The Black Female Gospel Singer’s Ethics of Accountability”
Marlon Millner, Northwestern University, “Remembering All Things: Que(e)rying the Afropentecostal Archive”
Tia Smith and Shontoyia Jones, Xavier University of Louisiana, “Talking ‘Dirty’: Sex Talk, Pleasure and Power in Religious Based HBCU”
10:30am-11:45pm – Panel II: The Body & Literary Criticism, MU Student Center, Room 2206
Moderator: April Langley, Black Studies and English, University of Missouri
Bimbola Akinbola, University of Maryland – College Park, “Erotic Agency, Ambivalent Longing and the Interracial Intimacy in the Paintings of Njideka Akunyili Crosby”
Jalondra A. Davis, University of California, Riverside, “Butler’s Monsters: Octavia Butler’s Dawn and a Black Feminist Grotesque”
Naomi Extra, Rutgers University, Newark, “Extending the Black Feminist Tradition: Sex-Positivity & Anti-Respectability in the Writing of Red Jordan Arobateau”
Sandra Adell, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “Where’s the Love: Sexual Pleasure in Twenty-First Century Fiction by African American Women”
LUNCH in MU Student Center, Room 2206
1pm-2:30pm – Panel III: Aesthetic, Sonic and Performative Disruptions Created by Black Girlhood, MU Student Center, Room 2206
Moderator: Cristina Mislan, School of Journalism, University of Missouri
Durell M. Callier, Miami University (Ohio), “Living in the Shoreline: BlackQueer Feminist Performance Aesthetics and Possibilities”
Porshe R. Garner, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Undoing the Secular/Sacred: An Exploration of SOLHOT’s We Levitate”
Dominique C. Hill, Amherst College, “Not All of Us Are!..”: Black Girl Lessons on Being Reliable”
Jessica L. Robinson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “ ‘They are on Fire’: Black Girlhood and Reimagining Funk Performances”
2:45-3:45pm – Panel IV – Illicit Eroticism: Sex Work, Reality TV and Hip-Hop, MU Student Center, Room 2206
Moderator: Julie Elman, Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Missouri
Ummni Khan, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, “Fetishizing Rap Music”
S. Tay Glover, Northwestern University, “Decolonial Gestures: Love and Hip Hop, Black Lesbian Illicit Eroticism, and the Southern Black Ratchet Imagination”
Julian Glover, Northwestern University, “Customer Service Representatives: Understanding Sex Work amongst Black Transgender Women in Chicago’s Ballroom Scene”
5-6pm – Keynote I: “Whose body is this? On the Cultural Possibilities of a Radical Black Sexual Praxis,” MU Student Center, Room 2206
Marlon Bailey, Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies (SST), Arizona State University
6:30pm – Reception, sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Women’s Center, MU Student Center
Saturday, October 14
9-10am Welcome, Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
10-11:15am – Panel V: Revisiting the Past & Reimagining a Future: Slavery, Its Aftermath and Political Activism, Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
Moderator: Keona Ervin, History, University of Missouri
Mahaliah Ayana Little, Ohio State University, “Impolite & Unimaginable Erotics: Representations of Enslaved African American Women’s Sexuality”
James Harris, Ohio State University, “In Search of the Black Penis: Privilege and Manhood in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years of Slave and Starz’s Power”
Freda Fair, Indiana University (Bloomington), “Home Girl Got It Going On”: Desiring Mammy and The Black Queer Erotics of Liminality in Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman”
Clayton T. Finn, California State University, Fullerton, “Queer Activism in the Early 20th Century NAACP: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Sexual Politics of Respectability”
LUNCH in Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
1-2:30pm – Keynote Panel – What is Anti-Respectability as Methodology?, Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
Chair: Christina Carney, Black Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Missouri
Marlon Bailey, Women and Gender Studies (SST), Arizona State University
Ruth Nicole Brown, Gender & Women’s Studies and Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Mali D. Collins-White, English, University of Delaware
Jeffrey McCune, Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and African & African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
Jordan Mulkey, Morehouse College
2:45-3:15pm – Q&A with visual artist Motown (Fine Arts Department, Missouri) on ‘Embodied’ Art Installation, Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
3:30-4:30pm Closing Keynote II: “Pleasure...in Nine Verses,” Memorial Union, Benton Bingham Ballroom (N214/215)
Ruth Nicole Brown, Associate Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies and Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
4:45pm – Closing Remarks
Stephanie Shonekan, Department Chair, Black Studies, School of Music
Christina Carney, Conference Chair, Black Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies
Invited Presenters and Speakers
Sandra Adell, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Professor in the Dept. of Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison. Selected Publications- African American Women Playwrights: The Twenty-First Century. An Anthology of new plays by nine African American Women Playwrights. Edited with an Introduction by Sandra Adell. (University of Illinois Press, December, 2015); Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen: A Memoir (EugeniaBooks, February, 2010) This book examines the devasting effects casino gambling is having on women from a very personal perspective. Literary Masters: Toni Morrison. (Manly Books, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina, 2002). A comprehensive illustrated overview of Morrison’s life and works for general readers. It includes photos that had not been previously published and numerous excerpts from magazine and newspaper interviews with Morrison about her involvement in theater and music, an aspect of her work that has rarely been researched.
Bimbola Akinbola, University of Maryland – College Park
Bimbola Akinbola is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies and a University Flagship Fellow. She received her B.A from Macalester College where she double majored in American Studies and Studio Art. Focusing on a small network of women artists working in the U.S and Nigeria, her research considers how their artistic creations function as “diaspora spaces” and facilitate the creation of real and imagined diasporic communities.
Marlon Bailey, Arizona State University
Marlon M. Bailey is an Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies. Marlon’s book, Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, a performance ethnography of Ballroom culture (UM-Press, 2013), was awarded the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association. Some of the journals in which Dr. Bailey has published are Feminist Studies,Souls, Gender, Place, and Culture, The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, and AIDS and Patient Care. Dr. Bailey is currently conducting an ethnographic study of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on Black gay subjectivity.
Ruth Nicole Brown, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Ruth Nicole Brown is an associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black girls’ lived experience and explores the gender and racialized power dynamics of collectivity, particularly as it relates to Black girlhood. Through research and creative projects, she is interested in the ways Black girls make use of abstract concepts like freedom, justice, and power. She is the visionary of Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), a practice based, publicly engaged, collectively organized space for Black girls to envision Black girlhood anew. Her second book, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (Illinois Press, 2013), provides an ethnographic account of the creative processes Black girls rely on to make intelligible the ways power, creativity, spirituality, memory, and performativity structure meanings of belonging. This book builds on the work of Black feminists and feminists of color to break intriguing new ground in Black feminist thought and methodology. Currently, she is working on a multi-media project, Black Girl Genius about the importance of independent and everyday Black girls’ cultural and artistic expressions.
Durell M. Callier, Miami University (Ohio)
Durell M. Callier (Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [UIUC]), documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black queer youth’s lived experiences and utilizes performance based methodologies to theorize systemic violence against Black and queer youth. An interdisciplinary scholar, he is also interested in the educative and political usages of narrative and art within, by and for marginalized communities. His work has been published in various leading venues such as, Qualitative Inquiry, Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research and Text and Performance Quarterly. Extending his scholarship and illustrating his commitment to publicly engaged scholarship, Callier is part of a scholar artist-collective Hill L. Waters (HLW). HLW blends narrative research, with performance, feminist, and queer methodologies to create performance texts exploring issues of race, gender, sexuality, love, violence and belonging. Callier has also written, performed, and produced plays (Tell It!: A Contemporary Chorale for Black Youth Voices), performance texts (Bodies on Display; Love, Funk, and Other Thangs; Connected, OUT) and created a mixed media art installation (disclosure).
Candice "Motown" Carney-Anderson, University of Missouri
Third-year BFA student in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Mali Collins-White, University of Delaware
Mali's research interrogates the conceptual formation of the African Diasporic archive and how black literature, broadly understood, articulates and dis-articulates this formation. One of her main research questions includes, How does an attention to the formulation and performance of blackness destabilize the traditional concept of the archive from which and for which we produce knowledge? She is also interested in black visual cultures, black educational K-12 education, and activisms. She earned a BA in Comparative Literature with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Minnesota and a MA in Culture and Theory from the University of California, Irvine. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her family
Jalondra A. Davis, University of California, Riverside
Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies; Designated Emphasis in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies; University of California, Riverside; Dissertation, “On Queens and Monsters: Science Fiction and the Black Political Imagination”; Advisor: Jayna Brown. Publications: “Imagining Africa,” Review of Africa SF in Science Fiction Studies, Volume 41 (2014); “How Many Hats and Who is it All For? Africana/Black Studies and the Scholar-Activist Tradition,” Voices of Claremont Graduate University: Student Research Journal, Volume I (September 2011) Davis
Naomi Extra, Rutgers University, Newark
Naomi Extra is a poet, writer, and doctoral candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. In both her creative and scholarly work she explores the themes of agency and pleasure in the lives of black women and girls. Her research interests center on black feminist theories; black sexual politics; African American literature; and women and gender studies. Her dissertation explores the history of sex-positive black feminism during the 1970s and 80s through the work of three under explored black writers: Red Jordan Arobateau, Ann Allen Shockley, and SDiane Bogus. Through this research, she seeks to carve out a space for thinking about black women as sex-positive writers, feminists, theorists, and activists. Her poems, essays, and interviews have been published in The Feminist Wire, Bitch, Ms. Magazine Blog, Apogee Journal, Lenny Letter, Sporklet, and elsewhere.
Freda Fair, Indiana University
Dr. Freda Fair is an interdisciplinary scholar and teacher who studies race, gender, sexuality and culture in the United States with a focus on the American Midwest. Freda earned their PhD in Gender Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016. Freda's research interests include queer politics and aesthetics, women of color feminist thought, labor, and social movement responses to policing, normativity, surveillance, and precarity. Freda is currently working on their book manuscript, Liminal Erasures: Midwest Black Sexual Personhood in Visual Culture, that examines African American labor and aesthetic challenges to sexual regulation and surveillance in the Midwest. The project argues that liminality operates as a nuanced form of national and regional power that actively regulates and surveils black gender and sexual difference. Drawing on archival and visual cultural examples, the study details the ways in which liminality operates as a political process that positions the American Midwest as an effective site to capture and move forward living tensions that exist between American liberal democracy and capitalism.
Clayton Finn, California State University (Fullerton)
Research Interests: Black Sexuality; Police Brutality; Racial Criminalization; Critical Animal Studies; 20th Century History; Racial Language. Selected Publications: “The ‘N-Word’: Finding Clarity in a Redundant Debate (Part I) Co-authored with Dr. Tyler D. Parry Guest Post with the African American Intellectual History Society, July 2016; “Titan Voice Clayton Finn: An Undergrad’s Pursuit of African American Studies,” Guest column in The Orange County Register, March 2016; “Contextualizing the N-word Controversy at the University of Kansas,” Guest Post on H-network H-Afro-Am, January 2016.
Porshe Garner, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
I am doctoral candidate in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My research primarily focuses on Black girls and Black girlhood celebration within the context of Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truth (SOLHOT), a grassroots organization in Champaign County. More specifically I am interested in the narratives of Black girls and this is connected to their spirituality
Julian Glover, Northwestern University
Glover is an academic, activist, and performer who holds an M.P.A. from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Northwestern University in the Department of African American Studies. Glover has also worked for several national progressive organizations including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. Research Interests: Black masculinity; LGBT studies; transgender studies; Black feminist thought; gender and sexuality studies; performance studies; sound studies; public policy; ethnography.
S. Tay Glover, Northwestern University
S. Tay Glover is an interdisciplinary Black lesbian feminist academic, teacher, and artist pursuing her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in the Department of African American Studies. She received her Bachelor's in Women's Studies and Political Science, and her Master's in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. As an academic, her research centers Black women's history; Black feminisms and critical theories of power, race, Black geographies, gender, and sexuality; and Black Southern queer women's experiences and erotic counter-cultures. As an artist, she uses music and performance to explore, experience, and extend her academic inquiries into Blackness, Black genders and Black queer women’s erotic community formation.
James Harris, Ohio State University
Dissertation: “Un-Becoming Adults: Adolescence and the Technologies of Difference in Post-1960 US Ethnic Literature and Culture.” This dissertation argues that the development of US Ethnic Literature in the second half of the twentieth century is driven in large part by the new demands imposed by the Cold War and its cultural logics. Thinking through and past the “Civil Rights” moment in a global context, it contends that trends as seemingly divergent as the emergence of the corporate university structure and the outgrowth of minority voices in mainstream cinema can all be understood as a part of a larger story of the nation’s long-overdue reckoning with its troubled racial past. Research Area: Post-1945 US Ethnic Literature. Specializations: Queer Theory/Queer of Color Critique, Women of Color Feminism and Game Studies.
Dominique C. Hill, Amherst College
Dr. Dominique C. Hill is a scholar-artist whose scholarship foregrounds the body as site and tool. In particular, her research agenda involves representation and imaginative productions of Black femininity and girlhood and deploying the body as a pedagogical tool in the classroom to create vulnerable and healing spaces. Her work is an assemblage of Gender & Sexuality Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Performance Studies theory and practice with goals of enhancing the lived and educational realities for Black girls and youth specifically. As a scholar-artist, she aims to create scholarship that is vulnerable, embodied, community accountable, transgressive, and arts-informed.
Shontoyia Jones, Xavier University of Louisiana
Shantoyia (Toy) Jones, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Certification in African American Studies from the University of Tulsa. She earned a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University and a Philosophy Doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a graduate minor in Multicultural Studies from the University of Kansas. Her areas of expertise include sexual violence, women of color, racial justice, multicultural competency, target/agent/ally identity development, and socially-just activism within psychotherapy and training. Additionally, her expertise includes lecturing on the impact of supremacist and privileged identities left unchecked. Her career journey allows her to be of service to those who are survivors of trauma via various forms of social and systemic injustices as well as develop interventions for those that perpetuate these traumas and injustices.
Ummni Khan, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa
Ummni Khan holds an S.J.D in Law from the University of Toronto and is an Associate Professor at Carleton University in the Department of Law and Legal Studies. She is also joint-chair of the Women's and Gender Studies Department at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. Her research focuses on the socio-legal construction of stigmatized sexual practices. Her book, Vicarious Kinks: Sadomasochism in the Socio-Legal Imaginary (2014), examines the ways that criminal regulation of consensual SM rests on problematic ideological claims that engage with psychiatry, anti-sm feminism and film. Her current SHHRC-funded project addresses the regulation of sex trade clients. In 2016, she was awarded the Faculty of Public Affairs Research Excellence Award.
Mahaliah Ayana Little, Ohio State University
Mahaliah is a native of a small town called Norcross, Georgia. She graduated from Spelman College in 2013, and attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick for her MA (graduating in 2016). As a UNCF Mellon Fellow, she is dedicated to becoming a college professor. Her research is concerned with theorizations of pleasure in black feminist theory, the nexus of trauma and sexuality in black women's lives, and popular culture.
Jeffrey McCune, Washington University in St. Louis
McCune is author of the award-winning and groundbreaking book, Sexual Discretion, and first of its kind to suggest that the “Down Low”— the discreet way that men who have sex with men choose to be in the world— (what McCune calls “sexual discretion”) has a lineage further than this contemporary moment, with a significance that could challenge the stronghold of the prison-like closet that has been too easily assigned to black men who practice and privilege privacy and discretion. At present, McCune is completing two book projects. The first, ON KANYE, a book which uses Kanye West as a case study to have critical conversations about "black genius," race, and iconography. The second manuscript, READ: An Experiment in Seeing Black, is a project which engages in what McCune calls "inappropriate readings." This book provides new perspectives on how to think about core institutions in the black community--from slavery to the church--urging us to re-read age-old narratives which have shaped out consciousness.
Marlon Millner, Northwestern University
Marlon Millner is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University in religious studies. Marlon works at the intersection of theological studies, African-American studies, and critical theory. Broadly, he is interested in theology's discursive constitution of modernity as anti-blackness, and therefore the black sacred, including expressions of AfroChristianities as excessive to, and not constituted by theology. In particular, Marlon is working towards a dissertation project focused on Pentecostalism as a transnational movement of diaspora, which grounds itself in exile -- human fulfillment beyond a theologically constituted modernity. Pentecostalism offers disruption of the theological-biopolitical formations of race, sex and gender, which presage Pentecostalism's early 20th century emergence, and reveal blackness as the out-of-nothing which Pentecostals enflesh. Marlon earned an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. from Morehouse College.
Jordan Mulkey is a scholar-activist, who is presently a Senior English Major at Morehouse College. He is originally from Miami, Florida. As he begins to think about graduate study, his research interests broadly engage Black Queer Studies, Literary Theory, and Black Visual Culture. Particularly, he is interested in the critical intersections of Black Fugitivity and Queer Negativity, as political praxis and interior-exterior aesthetic devices. For 2015-2016, Jordan was the Morehouse College “Reading, Writing, Remembering King” award recipient, which is given to the best student essay on “Kingian philosophy.”
Angela Nelson, Bowling Green State University
Angela Nelson is Associate Professor in the Department of Popular Culture and Interim Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies within the School of Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Nelson teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on black popular culture and black popular music. The paper presented for this conference is part of a larger work she is researching and writing about the figure of the Gospel Woman. Dr. Nelson is examining the role and significance of Gospel Women, specifically African American Christian women, as they participate and appear in the American music industry, stage plays, and American popular film.
Jessica Robinson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Current doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.
#SOLHOT #WeLevitate. Research Interests: Gender and Sexualities Studies; Black Feminism; Black Girls Studies/ Organizing; Cultural Critique; Love; Performance Studies; Sound Studies (Music); Digital Media/Technology (Music).
Tia L. Smith, Xavier University of Louisiana
Dr. Tia L. Smith joined the Mass Communication Department at Xavier University in 2015 as Department Head. Dr. Smith received her Bachelors in Mass Communication, Speech and Theater from Bennett College for Women. She earned a Masters of Arts in International Telecommunications with a Concentration in Women’s Studies, and a
Doctorate of Philosophy in Mass Communication from Ohio University’s coveted Scripps College of Communication. Tia has collaborated and consulted with her colleagues on many research projects, conferences, films and academic papers. She trained journalists and media professionals in throughout the Caribbean and Latin American on covering taboo topics such as Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking. Her research interests focuses on intersections of gender, media and sexual culture. Dr. Smith has lived and worked in diverse cultural and learning environments in the United States, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago giving her first-hand knowledge of the sensitive nature and challenges associated with issues of media, diversity and inclusiveness.