This guide is an aid to the writings of the authors for the African American Studies-- Scholars' Voices Series—When and Where I Enter at 35: A Symposium in Honor of Paula Giddings. Panelists include, Renita J. Weems, Elsa Barkley Brown and Cheryl Wall. Also featured a poetry reading by Evie Shockley, and a panel discussion between Professor Giddings and Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Gloria Steinem. The day concludes with a conversation between PVAMU President Ruth J. Simmons and Paula Giddings.
On November 8th, the African American Studies Initiative at Prairie View A&M University will be hosting “When and Where I Enter @ 35: A Symposium in Honor of Paula Giddings.” This will be an opportunity to acknowledge the importance and influence of this groundbreaking book that chronicles the history of black women’s activism. For three and a half decades, it has served as a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about black women’s role in American political history. When and Where I Enter’s impact on black women and girls seeking to learn more about their own history has been invaluable and this event will bring together leading black feminist scholars to discuss the origins of black women’s studies and the intellectual legacy of their work.
Pioneering Scholars' in Black Women's Studies
The morning panel will feature Cheryl Wall (black women’s literary scholar) Renita Weems (biblical scholar and womanist theologian), and Elsa Barkley Brown (scholar of black women’s history). They have been at the forefront of research, writing and lecturing about the experiences of black women across intellectual fields. Their work continues to teach us about the important need to document and theorize the contributions of black women to the larger society. They have influenced countless young scholars who have expanded what we know about the everyday lives of black women and girls. Their careers can tell us about the challenges and rewards of being in professions that allow you time to study and write about your own community in academic spaces where your presence was history making.
What happens when you blaze new intellectual trails, when you unearth new stories about long forgotten black women, and when you use your voice to amplify the overlooked voices of other black women. Paula Giddings,’ When and Where I Enter, chronicles the lives of women who have resisted political and social domination and these scholars write in conversation with Giddings’ work. They have also lived intellectual lives worthy of being chronicled.
This panel will be moderated by Prairie View alum and legal scholar Melynda Price ’95 whose work focuses on race, gender, and the politics of punishment. Prairie View is fortunate that they are all willing to participate in a public conversation about being black women whose life’s work has been making black women’s lives more visible, more nuanced, and more legible to us all.
Framing Feminism: Past, Present and Future
The afternoon session is divided into two parts. During the first section, our honoree Paula Giddings will discuss her recent work, which is a collaboration with black feminist scholar, Beverly Guy-Sheftall and feminist writer and activist, Gloria Steinem. This historic panel features three feminist powerhouses whose collective work as writers, journalist, activists, teachers and lecturers helped to usher in advancements for all women and have influenced generations of young women to embrace their power and use their voices to speak out against injustice. We have so much to learn from each of these women and they have agreed to give us some insight into a burgeoning new project they are working on. This conversation will frame feminism as an intellectual project and a way of moving through the world. There will be discussions about their past work but it will end with a discussion of feminism’s future.
Our day will end with a conversation between our PVAMU president, Ruth J. Simmons and Paula Giddings discussing Giddings life, work and much more. There is no way that you will leave this event without having considered difficult questions, reflected on black women’s struggles, shared in black women’s joy and experience #blackgirlmagic.
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