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Prominent Scholars Lecture on Race, Science, Sexuality and the Politics of Black Women’s Bodies Share a Spelman College Press Release


Media Contacts:
Terrilyn Simmons
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

ATLANTA (Sept. 4, 2013) – Internationally recognized scholars will lecture on the intersection of race, science, sexuality and the politics of Black women’s bodies during the 2013-2014 Spelman College Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series. Organized by the Teaching Resource and Research Center, this year’s theme, Black (W)holes and Geometry: The Politics of Black Women's Bodies, will provide historical context and analysis on how social categories interact to create a system of oppression, leading to multiple forms of discrimination for Black women. Free to the public, each lecture will be followed by a book signing.

Supported by the Office of the President and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the theme is inspired by the article “Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Black Female Sexuality (1994)” written by Spelman alumna and opening lecturer, Evelynn Hammonds, Ph.D., C’76, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of History of Science and African American Studies, Harvard University. Other featured lecturers include Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, J.D., distinguished professor of law at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School; Dorothy Roberts, J.D., George A. Weiss University professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania; and Deborah Willis, Ph.D., chair and professor of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

“This year’s multidisciplinary theme provides the intellectual framework for critical analysis of the images and discourse on Black women’s bodies,” said Mona Phillips, Ph.D., professor of sociology and director of the Spelman College Teaching Resource and Research Center. “Evelynn Hammonds’ precisely creative language opens the door to all sorts of intellectual and political possibilities.”

Now in its second year, the collaborative series fosters interdisciplinary inquiry into contemporary issues that impact women. Over the course of the 2013-2014 academic year, students will take part in discussions and events facilitated by faculty from across the College including science, history, comparative women’s studies, sociology and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series was established to promote interdisciplinarity, a core value of the College. The series is named for the intellectual, writer and activist 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. The 2012-2013 theme was More than a Vote: Women's Struggle for Full Citizenship. The distinguished lecturers were renowned activists and professors Angela Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry. The annual theme provides an intellectual umbrella for lectures, readings, events, panels, and discussion groups throughout the academic year.

2013-2014 Lecture Schedule:
Evelynn Hammonds, Ph.D., C’76
Sept. 16, 2013
Lecture: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Signing: 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
NASA Auditorium, Spelman College

Deborah Willis, Ph.D.
Oct. 17, 2013
Lecture: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Book Signing: 8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby, Spelman College
Organized in partnership with the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, J.D.
Jan. 27, 2014
Lecture: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Signing: 7 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby, Spelman College

Dorothy Roberts, J.D.
Feb. 11, 2014
Lecture: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Signing: 7 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby, Spelman College

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit


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