Issue 12.3-13.1 | Summer 2014/Fall 2014 / Guest Edited by Kim F. Hall, Monica L. Miller, and Yvette Christiansë

About the Contributors

Jennifer DeVere Brody is Professor in and Chair of the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University where she also works with Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity and the program in Feminist ,Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her books, Impossible Purities and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play were both published by Duke University Press and explore questions of racialization, gender, sexuality, visuality and performance. Her scholarly work has appeared in edited volumes and in journals such as Genders, Signs, Theater Journal, Callaloo, and Screen. She was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a research award from the Royal Society of Theater Scholars and a Monette-Horwitz Prize for Independent Research to combat homophobia. She is writing about James Baldwin’s children’s book and a completing a new project about sculpture and race.

Pam Cobrin is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Writing and Speaking Programs at Barnard College. She is trained as a feminist theatre historian, specializing in performances of American identity. She additionally researches writing and speaking pedagogies with an emphasis on social justice. Her book, From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway, the Emergence of Women on the New York Stage, 1880-1927 (University of Delaware Press, 2009), explores the intersection of female public visibility and political agency, pre-19th amendment. She has published in Women and Performance (where she also edited two issues), TDR, and Theatre Insight on topics ranging from female aging and performance to the politics of women’s 19th century amateur performance.

Soyica Diggs Colbert is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance and the Stage (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and editor of the Black Performance special issue of African American Review (2012). Colbert is currently working on a second book project entitled Black Movements: Performance and Politics and an edited volume entitled Do You Want to Be Well: The Psychic Hold of Slavery. She has published articles and reviews on James Baldwin, Alice Childress, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, Lynn Nottage, Katori Hall, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Kanye West in African American Review, Theater Journal, Boundary 2, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Theater Topics and in the collections Black Performance Theory, Contemporary African American Women Playwrights, and August Wilson: Completing the Cycle.

Christine Cynn is an Assistant Professor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. With the support of a Fulbright Fellowship to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, she began research on her current book manuscript on HIV prevention media in Francophone West Africa and began production of a video documentary with women living with HIV, Un Corps Encore. She has worked on a number of other video projects, including the award-winning 2003 documentary, Pote mak sonje: The Raboteau Trial, which she co-produced. Chris was an Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral fellow at Barnard College.

Gabrielle Davenport graduated from Barnard in May 2015 with a degree in Africana Studies and a minor in Spanish and Latin-American Cultures. Her research interests include hip-hop, feminism, the intersections of spirituality and cultural expression across African diasporas, and the work and life of Ntozake Shange. She was published in February 2015 in Portales, the undergraduate journal of Columbia University’s Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, and has previously written for The Metropolitan Jolt and Okayplayer. She currently lives in Brooklyn and looks forward to working in arts administration before applying to graduate school.

Hope Dector is the Creative Director at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, where she collaborates with Activist Fellows on multi-media projects, including the production of original video content, and is the Layout and Production Editor for The Scholar & Feminist Online. She is also an artist and printmaker.

Victoria Durden is an alumna of Barnard College where she majored in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She co-directed the 2014 Barnard College/Columbia University production of The Vagina Monologues.

Farah Jasmine Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University. She also serves as Program Director for The Schomburg Center’s Scholars-in-Residence Program. Professor Griffin received her B.A. from Harvard, where she majored in American History and Literature and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale. Her major fields of interest are American and African American literature, music, history and politics. She has published widely on issues of race and gender, feminism and cultural politics. Griffin is the author of Who Set You Flowin?: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and co-author, with Salim Washington, of Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne, 2008). Her most recent book, Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II was published by Basic Books in 2013. Professor Griffin’s essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Art Forum and numerous other publications. She also wrote the book for Geri Allen’s A Conversation with Mary Lou, directed by S. Epatha Merkenson and featuring vocalist, Carmen Lundy. The performance premiered at Harlem Stage in 2014. Griffin Is a frequent radio commentator on political and cultural issues.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, and a time traveller and space cadet. Alexis is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind intergalactic community school and the co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming experiential archive amplifying generations of Black Queer Brilliance. She designed the Indigo Afterschool Program, Indigo Night School and the Indigo Days weeklong retreat as opportunities for black women of different ages to make rituals and explore their magic. Alexis earned her PhD in English, Black Studies and Women’s Studies at Duke University in 2010 and a Too Sexy for 501 C3 trophy soon thereafter. Alexis writes on topics including abolition, black feminism, caribbean women’s literature, critical black diaspora studies and more. She is widely published in scholarly, activist and literary publications and is recently featured in Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Activists, was selected for Best Experimental Writing 2015 and is co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines which will be available from PM Press in February 2016. Alexis is a 2004 graduate of Barnard College.

Kim F. Hall is Professor of Africana Studies and Lucyle Hook Chair of English at Barnard College. Her research and teaching encompasses Renaissance/Early Modern Culture, Race Theory, Black Feminist Studies, Food Studies and Visual Culture. Her book, Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England was the first to read early modern texts through a black feminist lens. She is also the editor of Othello: Texts and Contexts. She has held ACLS, Ford Foundation and NEH sponsored grants and is currently working on two book projects: Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Race, which examines the roles of labor, race and genre in the Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century, and “Othello was my grandfather”: Shakespeare in the African Diaspora. Additionally, she runs the Digital Shange Project, an interdisciplinary project that gives undergraduate students the tools to create digital stories based on archival research in the Ntozake Shange papers at Barnard College and other Harlem archives. She was named the inaugural Faculty Partner of the Year by the Barnard College library and is the winner of the college’s 2015 Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy. Kim is an avid quilter whose work has been on display in Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and South Carolina.

Monica L. Miller is Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies at Barnard College. She specializes in African-American and American literature and cultural studies. Her book, Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity (Duke, 2009) received the 2010 William Sanders Scarborough Prize for the best book in African American literature and culture from the Modern Language Association; it was shortlisted for the 2010 Modernist Studies Association book prize. Professor Miller is the recipient of grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2012, 2001), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2004), and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2004). She served as a Term Fellow at Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University (2011-13). She is currently at work on two projects: Affirmative Actions: Ways to Define Black Culture in the 21st Century, which examines very contemporary black literature and culture from five vantage points (the novel, contemporary art, documentary film, museums/archives, and politics) in order to assess the consequences of thinking of black identity as “post-black” or “post-racial.” Fyra nyanser av brunt (four shades of brown): Blackness, Brownness, Diaspora and Belonging, a multi-genre investigation of multiculturalism, integration, and Afro-Swedishness and its relation to theories of diaspora and diasporic belonging.

Lorraine Moller, Associate Professor of Communications and Theatre Arts at John Jay College, is a practitioner and scholar of prison theatre. Moller has directed several theatrical projects for and by incarcerated women and men in the New York State Department of Corrections and for The Inspire Project in Thailand. Most recently, her production of A Few Good Men, which she directed at Sing Sing Correctional Facility is the subject of a documentary project by Goldcrest Films to be released this year.

Tami Navarro is the Associate Director of BCRW and Managing Editor of the Center’s online journal, The Scholar and Feminist Online. She holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University and is currently at work on a manuscript entitled Virgin Capital: Financial Services as Development in the US Virgin Islands.

Niyi Osundare is a poet, dramatist, critic, essayist, and media columnist, as well as a Distinguished Professor of English at The University of New Orleans who has authored 18 books of poetry, two books of selected poems, four plays, a book of essays, and numerous monographs and articles on literature, language, culture, and society. Born in Nigeria, he was educated on three continents, receiving a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, an M.A. from the University of Leeds in England, and Ph.D. from York University, Toronto, Canada. Osundare has received many prizes for his creative works: the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize, the Cadbury/ANA Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Noma Award (Africa’s most prestigious book award), the Tchicaya U Tam’si Award for African Poetry, and the Fonlon/Nichols Award for “excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to Human Rights in Africa.” He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the Universite de Toulouse-le Mirail in France and Franklin Pierce University in Rindge New Hampshire, USA. He reads and performs his work around the globe; his poems have been translated into French, Italian, Slovenian, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and Korean. He is a columnist for Newswatch, a prominent Nigerian newsmagazine; he maintains a weekly poetry column (Lifelines) in Nigeria’s Sunday Tribune, and is a frequent newspaper radio and television commentator on current affairs. Osundare has an active commitment to social justice, particularly freedom of speech and is known for his saying “to utter is to alter.”

Paul Scolieri is Associate Professor of Dance and a member of the Africana Studies Department faculty at Barnard College. He is the author of Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest (University of Texas Press, 2013), the recipient of several honors, including the inaugural Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize from the Congress on Research in Dance. He is currently an ACLS Burkhardt Fellow at the Library of Congress completing a biography of Ted Shawn, the “Father of American Dance.”

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst. Her work on queerness and poetics in African Diaspora arts and literatures has appeared in GLQ, Palimpsest, Jacket2, Public Books, The Feminist Wire and others. She is the author of the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love (2015). Her current book project, The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora, examines the links between identity, queerness and subversive poetics in contemporary women’s writing of the African Diaspora.

Kathryn Tobin is founding Policy Coordinator at Regions Refocus 2015, an initiative that works with policy makers and civil society to advance progressive policies worldwide. She previously worked at the United Nations and as a communications and advocacy consultant for several UN-based NGOs. Kate is a proud graduate of Barnard (Africana Studies 2008), and has a Master’s in African Literature from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Vanessa K. Valdés is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The City College of New York – CUNY. Her research interests include comparative studies of the literatures of the African Diaspora in the Americas, particularly in the Spanish Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States. She currently serves as Book Review Editor of s/x salon, an online literary salon on Caribbean literature and culture. She is the editor of The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies (2012) and Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora (2012). She is the author of Oshun’s Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas (2014).