PVAMU to Host Pioneering Scholars in Women’s African American Studies

Some of America’s leading black feminist scholars will take center stage on Nov. 8 at Prairie View A&M University for a symposium that focuses on the intersectionality of Women’s Studies and African American Studies.

“When and Where I Enter at 35: A Symposium in Honor of Paula Giddings,” hosted by the university’s new African American Studies Initiative (AASI), features Giddings, along with Gloria Steinem, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Elsa Barkley Brown, Renita Weems, and Cheryl Wall, who are all pioneering scholars.

“This will be an opportunity to acknowledge the importance and influence of Giddings’ groundbreaking book “When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America,” which chronicles the history of black women’s activism,” according to the AASI website. “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, and its impact on black women and girls seeking to learn more about their history has been invaluable.”

On the day of the symposium, a 10 a.m. panel will take place in the Opal Johnson Smith Auditorium with Wall, Weems, and Barkley Brown, who have all been at the forefront of research, writing, and lecturing about the experiences of black women across intellectual fields. Dr. Melanye Price ’95, endowed professor and principal investigator of PVAMU’s AASI, will moderate the panel.

“First, to have Giddings on campus to expose her work on the lives of black women in terms of political activism and political resistance is a big win for our institution,” said Price. “Then, to have people who are also huge in their fields to come and talk about her work and their work and the way they have changed the way we study black women in the academy is historical as well.”

An afternoon session at 2 p.m. will be 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,” said Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at PVAMU. “We have so much to learn from each of these women whose collective work as writers, journalists, activists, teachers, and lecturers has helped usher in advancements for all women and influenced generations of young women to embrace their power and use their voices to speak out against injustice.”

The day will conclude with Giddings in conversation with PVAMU President Ruth J. Simmons.

“This week’s Scholars’ Voices is a little different than our past Scholars’ Voices events,” Simmons said. “We are focusing on individuals, and we have the opportunity to hear the discussion among them. We want students to see this interaction and the vibrancy of African American intellectual life.”

Wilson said, “There is no way that you will leave this event without having considered difficult questions, reflected on black women’s struggles, and shared in black women’s joy that is #blackgirlmagic.”

The event is free and open to the public. Click here to register.

Join the conversation online using the hashtags #PVScholarsVoices and #BlackWomenStudies.