Public Thinker: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on Dark Matter and White Empiricism

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-09-18 18:59Z by Steven

Public Thinker: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on Dark Matter and White Empiricism

Public Books
2019-09-17

Lawrence Ware, Co-director of the Africana Studies Program; Teaching Assistant Professor and Diversity Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy
Oklahoma State University


Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Photograph by Lisa Longstaff

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is one of fewer than a hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Being part of an all too rare group has given her a glimpse into the way the world of physics works—through not just equations and experiments but also human social interactions. The child of grassroots political organizers, Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical physicist and a self-taught Black feminist philosopher and scholar of science, technology, and society studies. She is also vocal about social problems within science and the way science contributes to problems in the larger world. I caught up with Dr. Chanda, as she is known to many on Twitter (@IBJIYONGI), via Skype, and what follows is a discussion that goes from dark matter to how whiteness operates in physics.

Lawrence Ware (LW): Can I ask you to explain to me, almost like I’m an eight-year-old, what you do?

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (CP): I think about the origin of spacetime and the origin of everything inside of spacetime. It’s the question of how we get from the beginning of the universe to us sitting in the rooms that we are sitting in now. How do we get from point A to point B? And does the universe even have a beginning? What happened at the very beginning?

LW: But I am still very confused about what you do. Help me understand.

CP: I just do math all day.

LW: How do you bring your interest in race and gender into conversation with what you do with physics, then?

CP: When I was 10 years old, I began getting really excited about theoretical physics. And I was really excited about doing theoretical physics specifically because I thought it would get me away from human problems. My parents were both activists; I spent my entire childhood hearing about the ways the world is messed up. I think I saw theoretical physics as an exit from having to worry about the human condition.

Then, when I was in high school, I became aware that I might stand out in my classes, because my background was a little bit different from that of the typical physicist. I was aware that there weren’t a lot of Black women in physics. I had never heard of one. This generation might have a very different experience now, because of Hidden Figures, but there was nothing like that when I was in high school.

So I thought I would just stand out, but I didn’t really think much of it. I had no intention to go into college thinking about race or gender or anything like that. And then I started experiencing racism and sexism in physics environments and started trying to make sense of it. That was how it started to come together…

Read the entire interview here.

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Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2019-09-09 00:15Z by Steven

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
2019-07-02
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781534440838
eBook ISBN 13: 9781534440852

Katherine Johnson

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

Throughout Katherine Johnson’s extraordinary career, there hasn’t been a boundary she hasn’t broken through or a ceiling she hasn’t shattered. In the early 1950s, she joined the organization that would one day become NASA, and which had only just begun to hire black mathematicians. Her job there was to analyze data and calculate the complex equations needed for successful space flights. As a black woman in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges and often wasn’t taken seriously by the scientists and engineers she worked with. But her colleagues couldn’t ignore her obvious gifts—or her persistence. Soon she was computing the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s first flight and working on the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine’s life has been a succession of achievements, each one greater than the last.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

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Emma Dabiri on the Politics of Black Hair

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-09-09 00:13Z by Steven

Emma Dabiri on the Politics of Black Hair

Sotheby’s
African Modern & Contemporary Art
2019-09-03

Mariko Finch, Deputy Editor, Deputy Director
London, United Kingdom

Emma Dabiri wearing Nigerian Yoruba suku braids

Emma Dabiri is a broadcaster, author and academic who recently published Don’t Touch My Hair — a book that charts the shifting cultural status of black hair from pre-colonial Africa through to Western pop culture and beyond. Ahead of the Modern & Contemporary African Art sale in London on 15 October, in which a number of works depicting traditional African hair are offered, we sat down with her to discuss the history of hairstyles.

Mariko Finch: When did you decide that you wanted to turn your research into a book?

Emma Dabiri: In around 2016. The conversation about black hair had been happening for a while at that stage but I was finding it often quite repetitive. There is so much more to engage with through hair, so I wanted to do that research. There is so much more to engage with through hair; social history, philosophy, metaphysics, mathematical expression, coding, maps…

This topic has recently made it to the mainstream media; through Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, Kim Kardashian and the issue of cultural appropriation. It is very timely to have that debate anchored in something historical.

I felt somewhat exasperated by the way people’s frustrations around cultural appropriation by celebrities were being disregarded and dismissed as just something very superficial; as if those weren’t valid or legitimate concerns. I wanted to provide the historical context for why this anger exists. Let me show that it’s not just vacuous, or petty policing of culture. There are like very strong historical antecedents as to why these emotions run so high…

Read the entire interview here.

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Race, power and intimacy in the intersubjective field: the intersection of racialised cultural complexes and personal complexes

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-09-06 20:13Z by Steven

Race, power and intimacy in the intersubjective field: the intersection of racialised cultural complexes and personal complexes

The Journal of Analytical Psychology
Volume 64, Issue3 (June 2019)
pages 367-385
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12503

Ruth Calland, Jungian Psychotherapist
London, United Kingdom

Journal of Analytical Psychology banner

This paper presents work with a biracial young woman, in the context of a predominantly white Jungian training organisation. The patient’s relational difficulties and her struggle to integrate different aspects of her personality are understood in terms of the overlapping influences of developmental trauma, transgenerational trauma relating to the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean, conflictual racial identities, internalised racism, and the British black/white racial cultural complex. The author presents her understanding of an unfolding dynamic in the analytic relationship in which the black slave/white master schema was apparently reversed between them, with the white analyst becoming subservient to the black patient. The paper tracks the process through which trust was built alongside the development of this joint defence against intimacy ‐ which eventually had to be relinquished by both partners in the dyad. A white on black ‘rescue fantasy’, identified by the patient as a self‐serving part of her father’s personality, is explored in relation to the analytic relationship and the training context.

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A Real Negro Girl: Fredi Washington and the Politics of Performance during the New Negro Renaissance.

Posted in Biography, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Statements, United States, Women on 2019-08-28 00:26Z by Steven

A Real Negro Girl: Fredi Washington and the Politics of Performance during the New Negro Renaissance.

NEH banner
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20506
Grant number: HB-263199-19
2019-08-14

Grantee: Laurie Avant Woodard, Assistant Professor of History
CUNY Research Foundation, City College (New York, New York)

Grant Period: 2019-09-01 through 2020-08-31
$60,000 USD (approved), $60,000 USD (awarded)

Research and writing a biography of Fredi Washington (1903-1994), a civil rights activist and a performing artist active in the Harlem Renaissance.

Focusing upon the life and career of performing artist and civil rights activist Fredi Washington, this project places an African American female performing artist at the center of the narrative of the New Negro Renaissance; illuminates the vital influence of performing artists on the movement; and demonstrates the ways in which Washington and the New Negro Renaissance are central components of the long civil rights narrative and our understanding of the African American quest for civil and human rights. The manuscript will consist of six chapters and a prologue and epilogue.

For more information, click here.

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Investigating Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-08-26 00:30Z by Steven

Investigating Identity

City Scene
Columbus, Ohio
2013-04-02

Cindy Gaillard

CSNov2012VisualsRotating.jpg

Exploration of womanhood inspires painter

To this day, a family secret has shaped Jesse Chandler’s work.

Her mother, Carlene Bochino, was African-American, but passed for white. It was the early 1960s and the stakes were high.

The secret was so buried that rumors and whispers swirled around Chandler’s home life, but the truth was never clear.

“She looked like Lena Horne,” says Chandler. “I missed it. I don’t know how I missed it.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Embodied Resistance: Multiracial Identity, Gender, and the Body

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-08-20 21:53Z by Steven

Embodied Resistance: Multiracial Identity, Gender, and the Body

Social Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2019)
Article 221
16 pages
DOI: 10.3390/socsci8080221

Gabrielle G. Gonzales
Department of Sociology
University of California Santa Barbara

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This article explores the importance of the physical body in the development of gendered racial and ethnic identities through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 11 multiracial/multiethnic women. From a critical mixed race and critical feminist perspective, I argue that the development of an embodied and gendered multiracial and multiethnic identity is a path to questioning and resisting the dominant monoracial order in the United States. Interviews reveal that respondents develop these embodied identities both through understandings of themselves as gendered and raced subjects and through relationships with monoracial individuals. The process by which these women understand their physical bodies as multiracial subjects illustrates a critical embodied component of the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States.

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In 1870, Henrietta Wood Sued for Reparations—and Won

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2019-08-20 13:39Z by Steven

In 1870, Henrietta Wood Sued for Reparations—and Won

Smithsonian Magazine
September 2019

W. Caleb McDaniel, Associate Professor of History
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Verdict slip collage
No image of Henrietta Wood survives today, but her story is recorded in court filings, including the verdict slip above. (Illustration by Cliff Alejandro; Source material: W. Caleb McDaniel; New York Public Library (3))

The $2,500 verdict, the largest ever of its kind, offers evidence of the generational impact such awards can have

On April 17, 1878, twelve white jurors entered a federal courtroom in Cincinnati, Ohio, to deliver the verdict in a now-forgotten lawsuit about American slavery. The plaintiff was Henrietta Wood, described by a reporter at the time as “a spectacled negro woman, apparently sixty years old.” The defendant was Zebulon Ward, a white man who had enslaved Wood 25 years before. She was suing him for $20,000 in reparations.

Two days earlier, the jury had watched as Wood took the stand; her son, Arthur, who lived in Chicago, was in the courtroom. Born into bondage in Kentucky, Wood testified, she had been granted her freedom in Cincinnati in 1848, but five years later she was kidnapped by Ward, who sold her, and she ended up enslaved on a Texas plantation until after the Civil War. She finally returned to Cincinnati in 1869, a free woman. She had not forgotten Ward and sued him the following year.

The trial began only after eight years of litigation, leaving Wood to wonder if she would ever get justice. Now, she watched nervously as the 12 jurors returned to their seats. Finally, they announced a verdict that few expected: “We, the Jury in the above entitled cause, do find for the plaintiff and assess her damages in the premises at Two thousand five hundred dollars.”

Though a fraction of what Wood had asked for, the amount would be worth nearly $65,000 today. It remains the largest known sum ever granted by a U.S. court in restitution for slavery…

But Wood’s name never made it into the history books. When she died in 1912, her suit was already forgotten by all except her son. Today, it remains virtually unknown, even as reparations for slavery are once again in the headlines.

I first learned of Wood from two interviews she gave to reporters in the 1870s. They led me to archives in nine states in search of her story, which I tell in full for the first time in my new book, Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America

Read the entire article here.

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Effa Manley

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-08-16 20:09Z by Steven

Effa Manley

Ebbets Field Flannels
2019

Joe Swide


c. 1938. Wonderful image of Effa in a dress and wearing a Newark Eagles ball cap while being instructed on how to hold a bat by one of her players.

The most powerful woman in baseball

In the summer of 1947, the most powerful woman in baseball received a call from Bill Veeck, the owner of the Cleveland Indians. Veeck had spent the last five years scouting the Negro Leagues for the right ballplayer to integrate the American League and shortly after the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League had broken baseball’s color line by acquiring Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs, Veeck set his eyes on Larry Doby of the Newark Eagles. However, whereas the Dodgers managed to acquire Robinson without paying a cent to the Monarchs, Veeck found himself in a very different sort of negotiation with the owner of the Eagles, Effa Manley.

Manley was born into a biracial family in Philadelphia in 1897. Her mother was a white seamstress who was married to a black man but had an affair with her white employer, leading many to believe that he was Manley’s biological father. In any case, Manley was raised in a predominantly black community with a biracial identity like that of her siblings, and her ability to pass as either black or white enabled her to navigate both sides of the country’s racial divide…

Read the entire article here.

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Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Women on 2019-08-12 01:38Z by Steven

Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South

Yale University Press
2019-09-24
352 pages
6⅛ x 9¼
9 b/w illus.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780300242607

Adele Logan Alexander, Emeritus Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Born in the late nineteenth century into an affluent family of mixed race—black, white, and CherokeeAdella Hunt Logan (1863–1915) was a key figure in the fight to obtain voting rights for women of color. A professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and a close friend of Booker T. Washington, Adella was in contact with luminaries such as Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Despite her self-identification as an African American, she looked white and would often pass for white at segregated suffrage conferences, gaining access to information and political tactics used in the “white world” that might benefit her African American community.

Written by Adella’s granddaughter Adele Logan Alexander, this long-overdue consideration of Adella’s pioneering work as a black suffragist is woven into a riveting multigenerational family saga and shines new light on the unresolved relationships between race, class, gender, and power in American society.

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