Roundtable Black Female Geographies: Places, Bodies, Freedoms

AHA Session 41
Thursday, January 3, 2013: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Balcony K (New Orleans Marriott)
Cheryl D. Hicks, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Session Abstract

The analytic category of space offers historians a new way to think about relationships of power and domination as well as offering insight into spaces of freedom. Feminist and cultural geographer Katherine McKittrick explains, "If we imagine that traditional geographies are upheld by their three-dimensionality, as well as a corresponding language of insides and outsides, borders and belongings, inclusions and exclusions, we can expose domination as a visible, spatial project that organizes, names and sees social differences (such as black femininity) and determines where social order happens."[i]

By thinking through black geographies, the papers in this panel seek to expand traditional archives. We each focus on a specific urban center in order to address questions of power, domination and freedom that are so salient in black women’s lives.  These papers look at multiple and vastly different geographies: the body, the neighborhood, the home, the train, the speakeasy, the wharf and the gallows. Through these geographies we explore how scholars might use space to think about black women’s lives throughout the diaspora; how black women’s identities are influenced by spatial language; how black women move in and through cities to find spaces of pleasure or freedom; how black women encounter violence in urban space and how black women are included or excluded from urban geographies.  


[i] Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds: Black Women And The Cartographies Of Struggle, 1st ed. (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2006), xiv.

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