We are thrilled to host two Africana Studies bell hooks symposia in Spring 2024. One in Boston on Friday, February 2 and one in Oakland on Friday, March 22. As is our custom, all events are free and open to the public. This has become our flagship event in Africana Studies. The first symposium took place in 2022 only two months after our beloved Black feminist trailblazer joined the ancestors. In the spirit of collective mourning and community we created a space for reflection and celebration dedicated to the genius of bell hooks. Together we took the time as Black feminist scholars to mourn collectively and share what the legacy of bell hooks meant to us. Our speakers included Kentucky natives like our Northeastern colleague the journalist and scholar Meredith Clark and Boston University sociologist Saida Grundy, as well as historian Kellie Carter-Jackson, and theologian Amey-Victoria Adkins Jones among others. We gathered again at the beginning of this year, under different circumstances, but still committed to honoring our Black feminist ancestors and they roads that they paved for us to be here as well as to imagine the futures they might envision. The 2023 theme Black Feminism, Black Freedom acknowledged that for the Black feminist, Black freedom is front of mind. Together with esteemed speakers such as Pulitzer Prize winning author and activist Salamishah Tillet, Brown University professor Kevin Quashie, local activist and NU alum Demita Frazier, and Duke scholar Annette Joseph-Gabriel among others, we had another successful and fulfilling symposium.
Our 2024 theme takes us into a new, and important direction—“Black Feminist Worldmaking” will ask us to contemplate our futures and visions. I am especially excited that our inaugural Black feminist studies Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. AK Wright has conceptualized the symposium theme and will be at the helm of our organizing. For the Oakland symposium our theme “Education as the Practice of Freedom: The Black Feminist Classroom” will focus on the urgency of teaching about racial and gender justice in the 21st century. Our speakers for this symposium include Dr. Angela Davis, Dr. Gina Dent, and Dr. Brandi Summers Thompson as well as many members from within the NU network.
With love and in solidarity,
Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Dean’s Professor of Culture and Social Justice
Director of Africana Studies
Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies