Academics: Special Academic Programs and Offerings

Spelman College Ida B. Wells Distinguished Lecture Series

Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Distinguished Lecture and Performance Series

Ida B. Wells-BarnettPhi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Hazel Carby, Spelman College Faculty and Students Explore Empire, Nation and the Citizen 

On Thursday, Sept. 17, students of two Spelman College English Department professors, Tarshia Stanley and Pushpa Parkekh, will be in conversation with Hazel Carby, Ph.D., about Octavia Bulter's Bloodchild and post-colonial women's literature.

In addition to the classroom discussions, on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., Dr. Carby will also deliver the keynote lecture, "Writing by Hand," in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, lower level, room 32; and on Friday, Sept. 18, she will attend a luncheon with students and faculty representing majors from across the campus.

Dr. Carby's visit is hosted by the College's Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Epsilon of Georgia, and the Ida B. Wells Distinguished Lecture and Performance Series, in collaboration with the Department of English and the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program.

Awarded the Modern Language Association’s 2014 Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies, Dr. Carby is the author of Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist; Race Men; Cultures in Babylon; and the forthcoming Imperial Intimacies, her most recent work that focuses on the entanglements of the islands of Britain and Jamaica from the anti-Napoleonic war to the anti-fascist war. Dr. Carby is the Charles and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of African-American Studies and American Studies at Yale University, where she teaches courses on the literature and art of the Black Atlantic and the Caribbean; the transnational imaginaries of contemporary fiction; and science fiction in literature, visual culture and music.

Lecture Series

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture and Performance Series is coordinated by Mona T. Phillips, Ph.D, professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, and is housed in the Spelman College Social Justice Fellows Program directed by Cynthia Neal Spence, Ph.D., C’78.

Supported by the Andrew F. Mellon Foundation to promote interdisciplinarity as a core value of the College, the series is named for Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), who used multiple analytical languages to confront the politics of the Black body as well as the complexities of full citizenship for Black women and men.

Each year’s theme not only provides an intellectual umbrella for the lectures, but for readings, events, panels and discussion groups throughout the year.

Visiting Scholar Program

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars.  The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. 

The 13 men and women participating during 2015-2016 will visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, spending two days on each campus and taking full part in the academic life of the institution.  They will meet informally with students and faculty members, participate in classroom discussions and seminars, and give a lecture open to the university/college community and the general public. 

Past Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lectures Series Themes & Speakers


Theme:  "Stop Telling Stories:  A Year of Speaking" 

Professor Adrienne Davis, Washington University
Professor T. Lang, Spelman College  

Video | Inside Spelman Article


Theme: "'Black Holes and Geometry’:The Politics of Black Women's Bodies"

Professor Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University
Professor Kimberle Crenshaw, UCLA
Professor Dorothy Roberts, University of Pennsylvania


Theme: "More than a Vote: Women's Struggle for Full Citizenship"

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University
Professor Angela Davis, University of California-Santa Cruz