Moya Bailey

Thrown away where? The world is round.*

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 4)

“‘Misogynoir’ Coiner Moya Bailey Is Eating Pasta and Channeling Her Inner Black Auntie”

When doing an interview is an absolute joy and the title just fully sums up the way I live my life.

Dr. Moya Bailey believes that good things come from connecting and organizing. After seeing how Black women were stereotyped and miscategorized in medical yearbooks while working on her graduate school dissertation in 2010, Bailey coined the term “misogynoir” (a portmanteau of “misogyny” and the French word for “black”) to describe how Black women are viewed and treated in society vis-à-vis their race and their gender. “It was about creating clarity. Once you’re able to name your oppression, I think you’re better able to address it,” she says.

Read the full interview here.

Honoring Beverly Guy-Sheftall


What follows below are my remarks at the 2018 National Women’s Studies Association Conference honoring the work of Beverly Guy-Sheftall.

It is my great honor to say a few words about the incomparable Beverly Guy-Sheftall. To give her her flowers while she is here. Who would have thought a shy girl from Memphis, Tennessee would become a world renown educational freedom fighter by working on gender justice at Spelman College? As a first year student from little bitty Fayetteville, Arkansas, I was floored when Dr. Guy-Sheftall told my entering class about Sarah Baartman’s experiences as a human exhibit in Europe, the way her body was examined in life and death under the cloak of objective science but which was in reality reflective of scientific racism and sexism. In my first week at Spelman, before I’d even attended a class, Dr. Guy-Sheftall had blown my mind!

After that moment, I knew I wanted to take every class I could with her. At some point she revealed one of my favorite stories about her childhood. Her mother insisted that she did not need to take home economics. Beverly’s mother knew that her daughter had other work to do and other skills to learn. Her mother’s nurturing of her intellect allowed her to become the venerable scholar she is today and her mother’s actions also account for Beverly’s rarely if ever used oven.

Who has time to cook when you are growing a field of scholarship?

In typical Gemini fashion, Beverly is doing all the things all the time. If you ever send Beverly an email, don’t be surprised if you get a response at 2:30am.  A prolific night-owl, Beverly will answer your email while in between books she’s reading and finishing that day. Her nightly productivity has resulted in multiple collaborative texts, the development and flourishing of the Spelman College Women’s and Resource Center and her latest venture with the Mellon Foundation, a Gender and Sexuality Institute dedicated to addressing the violence disproportionately experienced by Black women and girls.

Who has time to sleep when you are remaking institutions?

No one has a more eclectic sense of style or a more pithy set of one liners. Beverly does not dabble in shade. Beverly reads. And her reads are legendary. Some of you were there, in 2004 when Beverly said, at the Chicago hip hop feminism conference organized by Cathy Cohen, that it was ludicrous to compare Madonna’s self fashioned and commercialized eroticism to the exploitation of Black women dancers in rap videos. Beverly said it so simply, “You can’t compare exploitation to the whorification of white women.”

Who has time for propriety when you are telling the truth?

Beverly set the stage for me to be in that room, at that conference, and hear that comment. It was in her Feminist Theory class, that the so-called Nelly protest was born that launched me, Leana Cabral, and Spelman into a national spotlight. How could Spelman, a historically Black women’s institution, host the rapper Nelly on campus for a bone marrow registration drive after depicting Black women as objects in his music and videos? Beverly gave us the time to process, in class, our conflicted feelings about his video “Tip Drill” and his impending visit to campus. She thought our voices mattered and she gave us the space to work it out. Our meek interest in writing a letter blossomed, with her encouragement, to naming Nelly the Misogynist of the Month, which distressed him so much he elected not to come to campus at all. The national attention that Nelly’s bowing out garnered, lead to the  invitation to the Hip Hop Feminism conference, where I got my first honoraria check, and got to see Beverly’s brilliance in action.

Who has time for the theory vs. activism debate when your classroom is a spaceship for praxis?

The resulting media attention raised Beverly’s star as well but she has remained committed to Spelman despite its sometime ambivalent relationship to her. She could be at any institution but she remains dedicated to the students of Spelman College, teaching and mentoring new generations of Black feminists who will be in every sector of society, even some we haven’t thought of yet.

Who has time for the Ivy league or PWIs  when you can make a choice to change the world?

We’ve done this here before, but if you have ever taken a class with Beverly, heard or read her words and been moved? Stand up.

Beverly, look around. This is the profound power of your scholarship in a discipline forged out of necessity for something different. You have inspired generations of Black feminists and feminists writ large. I hope you can feel your impact because we continue to feel yours.


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

Cover of Spectator Journal

Hello, again!

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.

When Margins Become Centered: Black Queer Women in Front and Outside of the Classroom

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!

#transformDH Conference 2015: A Recap

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.

Watch live streaming video from transformdh2015 at

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.

Watch live streaming video from transformdh2015 at

For more, Check out the Storifies from Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference.

#transform(ing)DH Writing and Research: An Autoethnography of Digital Humanities and Feminist Ethics

Hey All,

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.

I’m Back!

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!

NWSA Approved! Women’s Technolabor: Acts of Advocacy Online, in Media, and On Stage

This panel examines the technolabor of women in the US across multiple mediums.  By technolabor we mean, women’s work with digital and material technologies such as the electric guitar,  web-based platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr, and online health forums and websites like WebMD and Our Bodies, Our Blog.  These three papers emerge at the crossroads of technology, identity, agency,  and representation.  They analyze real-time transgressive tools, actions, and effects that are generating new, incisive and inclusive capacities for producing knowledge. At the core of our research are issues of identity, self-definition and just representation.  This panel uses interdisciplinary and intersectional frameworks as seen in the work of Jayna Brown and the late Jose Munoz, to contextualize these diverse groups within the category women.  Presenters also engage feminist scholars of epistemology and the politics and labor of knowledge-production such as Patricia Hill-Collins. Each paper considers how women actively work to transform the social barriers that contribute to distorted views of themselves within popular culture and public discourse. The women we highlight in our work challenge hegemonic representations through alternative knowledge production as a form of self advocacy. Our work is a reflection of ongoing debates around the limits and possibilities of gendered knowledge, particularly women’s knowledge in the service of building a more equitable world.

Politics, Homophobia, and Resistance Oh My!

Yesterday, three pieces I wrote or contributed to all showed up in my inbox within minutes of each other. They range from discussions in hip hop culture to participatory politics as resistance. See more below.

Participations: Dialogues on the Participatory Promise of Contemporary Culture and Politics Part 3: POLITICS

Your questions have me thinking about digital literacy and the assumptions people make about who has access to the Internet and what kinds of access they have. A lot more people of color access the Internet
through their cell phones, which can limit the types of digital platforms that are available to them. It impacts both people’s ability to participate at all and the types of digital participation that are possible. To echo Alexis, “deep and sustained analysis of the uneven ground on which participation takes place is also necessary.” I think part of this work is taking place on this thread.

Contextualizing Lord Jamar, Le1f, and hip hops homophobic history

Assimilation into the ruling class does not undo the structures that oppress people. For me, gay marriage is a distraction from issues that unite queer people with other marginalized folks. Dealing with the way that homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, impact education, health care, housing, and employment would be a more useful endeavor than symbolic songs like “Same Love.” Marriage is an institution that affords people all kinds of benefits in our country and for me, the question is why those benefits are only available through this one act; why can’t everybody just have what they need, regardless of whether they are married or not?

New Terms of Resistance: A Response to Zenzele Isoke

Zenzele Isoke’s “’Why Am I Black?’ Women, Hip Hop, and Cultural Resistance in Dubai,” explores the ways that eight Black women in Dubai use their engagement within global hip hop culture to resist gender oppression in their own lives. Isoke’s interviews provide a window into the transformative power of music and what Patricia Hill Collins calls transversal politics that identify two similarly phenomena from different locations that can be discussed in tandem. I find this theoretical framework’s deployment refreshing as it attempts to add to our toolbox and give intersectionality a break from doing a lot of the heavy lifting for Black feminist thought. In my own work I too am interested in identifying new logics that provide more specificity in the ways we engage our scholarship.

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