“R-E-S-P-E-C-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y: Black Women’s Studies since ‘Righteous Discontent’” Conference

CSREA and the Workshop for WOC Feminisms at Brown.
, Room 305

Download a complete agenda.

Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920 by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham impacted a wide range of disciplines and areas, among them, gender and sexuality studies, histories of labor and resistance, and black feminist theory. This two-day symposium will gather together scholars working in African American women’s history and black feminist theory to celebrate and reflect upon the impact of “the politics of respectability” on the shape and substance of scholarship in these fields.

All presentations are free and open to the public. No registration required. Please feel free to attend as your schedule allows. 

8:45 AM

Panel 1: Black Feminist Theory, Cultural Work, and Disrespectability – How has respectability traveled beyond the field of black women’s history to black women’s studies and black feminist theory? How have historians mobilized black feminist theory to shape their telling of black women’s stories? To what extent does respectabilty remain an organizing framework for black feminist theory? What other organizing categories have (and do) black feminists mobilize to theorize survival and resistance.

  • Tanisha Ford, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History, University of Delaware
  • Shoniqua Roach, Assistant Professor in African and African American Studies (AAAS) and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Brandeis University
  • Faith Lois Smith, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and English, Brandeis University
  • Chair: Kevin Quashie, Brown University
  • Discussant: Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies, Columbia University
10:45 AM

Panel 2: Histories of Women, Gender, and Sexuality – “The politics of respectability” remains an organizing principle for understanding black women’s lives. How has respectability insisted on its relevance as an interpretive tool in historical studies? What is the current state of the field of histories of black women and girls?

  • Marcia Chatelain, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University
  • Tiffany Gill, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History, University of Delaware
  • Camille Owens, Doctoral Candidate, African American Studies and American Studies, Yale University
  • Chair: Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Brown University
  • Discussant: Darlene Clark Hine, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Michigan State University
2:00 PM

Panel 3: Political Organizing and Resistance Strategies – Righteous Discontent was fundamentally a history of black women’s organizing. How has “the politics of respectability” continued to shape the study of black women’s political strategies?

  • Dayo Gore, Associate Professor & Chair of Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies, University of California, San Diego
  • Ashley Farmer, Assistant Professor of History, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Brandon M. Terry, Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies and of Social Studies, Harvard University
  • Chair: Françoise Hamlin, Brown University
  • Discussant: Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University
3:30 PM

A Conversation Between Friends: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham and Sharon Harley

Reception to follow.

Co-sponsored by the Workshop for WOC Feminisms at Brown, Department of American Studies, Department of History, Department of Africana Studies, and the Pembroke Center.