The Department of Gender and Race Studies will hold its 3rd Annual Recovering Black Women’s Voices and Lives Symposium on October 20, 2011 in the Heritage Room at the Ferguson Center located on the University of Alabama’s campus.

The Symposium aims to highlight the significant, groundbreaking and central contributions of African American and Afro-Descendent women to literary studies, intellectual history, feminist thought and theory, and cultural production by engaging the work of scholars and activists nationally and internationally.

With this year’s theme, “Transnational Feminisms: Women in the African Diaspora,” we hope to foster discussion around the significance of transnational feminisms in decolonizing the contested terrain of knowledge production upon which  the lives, histories, and subjectivities of Black women in the African Diaspora are constituted and reconstituted within global relations of power.

We are delighted to welcome Dr. M. Jacqui Alexander as our Keynote Speaker for the event.  We have three plenary sessions scheduled with scholars from across the U.S., Canada, France, and Nigeria who take a variety of interdisciplinary, theoretical and methodological approaches to our theme in relation to the Caribbean, West Africa, and transnational contexts in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Of particular interest are the ways in which transnational feminist theories are put into practice by scholars, public intellectuals, practitioners, and activists on the ground.

This event is free and open to the public.

Symposium Schedule

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Panel I: Feminist Negotiations in Transnational Contexts

  • Boatema Boateng, University of California San Diego “Victimhood and Transnational Mobility: The Case of Regina Norman Danson”
  • Takkara Brunson, University of Texas at Austin“La Mujer Negra (The Black Woman): The Transformation of Afro-Cuban Feminist Thought during the 1930s”
  • Jan-Therese Mendes, McMaster University, Ontario“The Female Negotiation of ‘Self’ in the Black-African (Muslim) Diaspora of Canada”
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Coffee Break
10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Panel II: Marketing Identities: Encounters, Economies, and Mobilities

  • Tisha Brooks, Tufts University
    “Conflicted Journeys: Critiquing Colonial Travel in Amanda Smith’s An Autobiography”
  • Brandi Hughes, University of Michigan
    “At the Cross of Nation and Diaspora: The Missionary Sojourns of Black Womanhood and the Rubric of the Transnational”
  • Bréma Ely Dicko, Paris Diderot University
    “African Women in France, Entrepreneurship in Migration: The Case of Malian Women”
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Documentary Screening with Dr. Rachel Raimist and Roundtable Discussion: Transnational Activism
1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Panel III: African Women’s Struggles through Violence and Instability

  • Lauren Chambers, University of Georgia
    “Transgressing Borders: Identity Formation in Ellene Kuzwayo’s Call Me Woman”
  • Chioma L. Enwerem, Imo State University, Nigeria
    “Violence Against Women in Selected Nigerian Video Films and Novels”
  • Megan Flowers, University of Mississippi
    “Doing Expertise: Negotiating the Gendered Process of Disabilitization in Rural Ethiopia”
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Coffee Break
3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Panel IV: Experiencing the Transnational through Performance and Spectacle

  • Pilar Eguez Guevara, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    “Colonial Imaginaries of Cuban Women: ‘Good Manners,’ Dance and Sexuality in 19th Century Havana”
  • Zakiya R. Adair, University of Missouri
    “Transnational Black Women Vaudeville Performers and Racial Uplift in the Early 20th Century”
  • Kiley Guyton Acosta, University of New Mexico
    “Afro-Cuban Counterpoint: Visual Vocabularies of Race, Representation and Resistance in Cuban Hip-Hop Feminism”
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Keynote Address

  • Dr. M. Jacqui Alexander
    Cosby Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Spelman College
    Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Toronto
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Catered Reception to follow, Gorgas House

Driving Directions & Parking Information:

You may find driving directions on the Ferguson Center’s website at

Free parking is available to attendees of the Symposium if you park in the lot with the red arrow below. Please notify the Registration Table when you arrive if you need a pass to place in your car if you’ve parked in this lot. The free lot is the large open lot directly across from the Ferguson Center between McCorvey Drive and Seventh Avenue. Parking is also available in the Ferguson Center Parking Deck for a $5.00 fee.

You may print a copy of the parking map here.