Black Feminist Theory Project

From Maria Stewart's first-of-its-kind public address in Boston in 1832 and Sojourner Truth's rousing "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the Woman's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851, to contemporary critical formulations such as Kimberlé Crenshaw's concept of "intersectionality" and Tricia Rose's work on structural racism, the thoughts, theories, and experiences of black women have been at the center of feminist activism and inquiry for the past two centuries. The year 2017 marked the fortieth anniversary of The Combahee River Collective's black feminist manifesto and Barbara Smith's groundbreaking treatise "Toward a Black Feminist Criticism," as well as the thirtieth anniversary of Hortense Spillers's equally influential essay "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book." In commemoration of these contributions and the continuing centrality of black feminist analytics, we are pleased to announce the establishment of The Black Feminist Theory Project at the Pembroke Center.

Envisioned as a site of intellectual collaboration across disciplines, The Black Feminist Theory Project is anchored by a rotating Distinguished Professor or Affiliated Scholar in Residence at the Pembroke Center. Other features include an annual public lecture by the Professor/Scholar in Residence and/or a symposium on her work. The aim of the project is to enhance the visibility and accessibility of black feminist discourse on campus as a resource for faculty, students, and the surrounding community, while calling attention to ongoing activism and interventions at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and public policy. 

The Pembroke Center announces the appointment of Aneeka Henderson as the 2017-18 Affiliated Scholar-in-Residence of the Black Feminist Theory Project. Professor Henderson is an assistant professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies department. She is a 2017-2018 AAUW American Postdoctoral Fellow and a 2017 Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Career Enhancement Fellow. At Amherst College, she teaches a wide range of courses exploring a mosaic of African American literature, art, music, and film, and her classes have been featured in Elle magazine as well as the New York Times.

During her tenure in December, 2017, Henderson will present a talk from her forthcoming book project, Wedding Bell Blues: Race and the Modern Marriage Plot, which examines ways in which contemporary music, film, and fiction negotiate and respond to complex neoliberal logics and black political nostalgia privileging marriage and family as supposed "cures" for inequality.

2017-18 Affiliated Scholar in Residence

Aneeka A. Henderson, Assistant Professor of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College

2016-17 Inaugural Distinguished Professor in Residence

Ann duCille, Emerita Professor of English at Wesleyan University
Author of Skin Trade and The Coupling Convention: Sex, Text, and Tradition in Black Women's Fiction