It’s here! Just in time for the holidays!
Ayana Jamieson and I labored for two years to get this special issue out and we are so glad that it is finally here! Please enjoy!
Award winning author Octavia E. Butler crafted a life as unique as any of her stories. Regarded as the grand dame of Afrofuturism, Butler is also the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant for her fiction and nonfiction writing. Born in 1947, in Pasadena, CA, June 22, 2017 would be have been her 70th birthday. As one of the first recognizable Black feminist science fiction writers to date, Butler had an illustrious career despite lackluster grades in primary school. She set her intention to become a writer at an early age and worked diligently to propel herself forward. She developed a process that she called “positive obsession” and wrote every day to advance her craft. She wrote at least sixteen novels (including a few have never been published), short stories and essays, and is heralded as one of the most influential Black speculative fiction writers in the world. This special issue of the journal Palimpsest celebrates her life and legacy by introducing and bringing to the fore scholarly work that is inspired by her science fiction.
Palimpsest was the obvious choice for this special issue as the palimpsest is an implicit theme in Butler’s work. Palimpsest describes the traces of previously erased or overwritten writing that show through in the newest versions of the work. We see this practice in Butler’s writing with historical texts, concepts, and conventions bleeding through to the present and into the future through time travel, genetic ancestry, and muscle memory.
Read the special issue here!
Black feminist health science studies (BFHSS) is a product of Hamer’s clarion call to attend to Black peoples’ health and wellness as an integral part of social justice labor. As such, BFHSS critically intervenes in a number of intersecting arenas of scholarship and activism, including feminist health studies, contemporary medical curriculum reform conversations, disability studies, environmental justice, and feminist technoscience studies (Bailey, 2016). We argue for a theory of BFHSS that builds on social justice science, which has as its focus the health and well-being of marginalized groups. We would like to move towards a social justice science that understands the health and well-being of people to be its central purpose. This formulation of BFHSS provides evidence of the co-constitutive nature of medical science and popular perception, underscoring the need to engage them simultaneously. Health is both a desired state of being and a social construct necessary of interrogation because race, gender, ablebodiedness, and other aspects of cultural production profoundly shape our notions of what is healthy (Metzl & Kirkland, 2010).
Excited this piece is out!
In this research, we examine the advocacy and community building of transgender women on Twitter through methods of network and discourse analysis and the theory of networked counterpublics. By highlighting the network structure and discursive meaning making of the #GirlsLikeUs network, we argue that the digital labor of trans women, especially trans women of color, represents the vanguard of struggles over self-definition. We find that trans women on Twitter, led by Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, and in response to histories of misrepresentation and ongoing marginalization and violence, deliberately curate an intersectional networked counterpublic that works to legitimize and support trans identities and advocate for trans autonomy in larger publics and counterpublics.
Read it here!
I am excited to announce my participation in a Sense8 roundtable in the latest issue of the Journal Spectator on Transgender Media edited by the fabulous Roxanne Samer. I talk with brilliant colleagues about the ways that race, gender, and sexuality show up in the series. Check it out!
Cover of Spectator Journal
It has been an incredibly long time again.
I am happy to report that I have accepted the position of assistant professor in the Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University. My work focuses on Black women’s use of digital media to promote social justice as acts of self-affirmation and health promotion.
My co-authored piece with my colleague Shannon Nasah-Miller, When Margins Become Centered: Black Queer Women in Front and Outside of the Classroom is live in the Special Issue Institutional Feelings: Practicing Women’s Studies in the Corporate University of Feminist Formations.
Heres our abstract
This article revisits the authors’ experiences as Black queer women teaching undergraduates and receiving graduate education, ultimately reflecting on these from their current professorial positions. It explores how graduate teachers and junior faculty who are Black queer women navigate the process of creating and maintaining feminist pedagogy in the college classroom while simultaneously negotiating universities that have very little space for queer women, Black women, and those at these intersections. The article asserts that feminist classrooms are arenas for discovery, liberation, and resistance of hegemonic structures, and attempts to construct these spaces both in- and outside of women’s studies departments. This task is particularly challenging when the instructor holds the very marginalized identities that exist in the content of the class and their education. Ultimately, the article argues that their unique experience has been under-theorized, even by them, and necessitates specific strategies that would not be addressed by a focus on Black women who are assumed to be straight or queer women who are assumed to be white.
Read the full article here!
I have the privilege of being in a really wonderful collaborative relationship with scholars I have long admired. It is this community of #transformDH led by the fabulous Alexis Lothian that convened and successfully executed the #transformDH Conference and THATCamp October 2-3, in Maryland.
We were able to talk about our experiences that led to the creation of the hashtag.
We were also able to show the power of digital videos as important interventions into the archive. My favorite was 13 Lunas but they were all so powerful. In less than ten minutes each of these digital videos offered important interventions into business as usual, much like #transformDH. Whether it is the embedded assumption about what a family tree should look like or the white-washing of the future, these digital story tellers and hackers offered new ways of looking at old unexamined beliefs.
We spent a lot of time unpacking ableism in storytelling and ableism in DH.
We also got to hear a fascinating Keynote from Lisa Nakamura about the ways that the labor of women of color in digital spaces is often overlooked.
For more, Check out the Storifies from Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference.
Its been a long time since Ive posted but I am reinvigorated by my participation in the #transformDH Conference at the University of Maryland this past weekend.
I mentioned the following article in my remarks this weekend.
#transform(ing)DH Writing and Research: An Autoethnography of Digital Humanities and Feminist Ethics
My research highlights the networks contemporary Black trans women create through the production of digital media and in this article I make the emotional and uncompensated labor of this community visible. I provide an added level of insight into my research process as a way to mirror the access I was granted by these collaborators. I use Digital Humanist Mark Sample’s concept of collaborative connections to demonstrate my own efforts to enact a transformative feminist process of writing and researching in the Digital Humanities (DH) while highlighting the ways in which the communities I follow are doing the same in their spheres of influence.
What may seem like a long hiatus, has actually been filled with more productivity than can quite be captured in a blog post. Ive settled into my new(ish) position as a postdoctoral Fellow in Womens, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the NU Lab for Digital Humanities at Northeastern. I am having a fantastic time.
Ill be documenting my goings on via blog post to the NU Lab Website. Heres a link to my first entry. Enjoy!