Alumnae: Alumnae Profiles

Alumnae Profiles: Ashley Farmer, C'2006

Spelman Alumnae ProfilesAshley Farmer, Ph.D., C'2006,  is a historian of African-American women's intellectual history. Her research interests include women's history, gender history, radical politics and black feminism.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from Spelman (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude), a Master of Arts in history from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in African-American Studies from Harvard. She is currently a Provost Postdoctoral Fellow in the history department at Duke University. 

As a postdoctoral fellow, Farmer is completing her manuscript What You’ve Got is a Revolution: Black Women’s Movements for Black Power (forthcoming, UNC Press). The first comprehensive intellectual history of African- American women in the Black power movement, this book analyzes an array of primary sources to uncover the pivotal role African-American women theorists played in shaping the Black power movement. 

Farmer's scholarship has appeared in numerous venues including Gender News, The Black Scholar, Black Diaspora Review and The Journal of African American History. Her research has been supported by the Center for American Politics at Harvard University, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at  Stanford University, Duke University, The University of Texas-Austin,  the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Research on Women and Politics at Iowa State University. It has also been featured on the History Channel. 

Through close examinations of the political speeches, pamphlets, and drawings of women in organizations like the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, she argues that African-American women developed gender-specific political identity models that connected their gendered interests to Black power ideology. Ultimately, her research shows that African-American women successfully promoted gender equality as a central component of radical movements for racial equality.

Farmer’s scholarship serves as a foundation for interpreting how women of color have historically organized around issues of gender inequity and for incorporating gender equality as part of movements dedicated to ending racial and economic disparities.

Farmer is a regular blogger for the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). Follow her on Twitter @drashleyfarmer. Visit her website at