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NULab Core Faculty Member Moya Bailey discusses her forthcoming book and visiting professorship at MIT

NULab core faculty member Moya Bailey, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern and 2020-21 MLK Visiting Professor in the MIT Women’s and Gender Studies Program, spoke with MIT News about her visiting professorship and forthcoming book, Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance.

Bailey coined the term misogynoir “to describe the unique ways in which Black women are pathologized in popular culture.”

In her Q&A with MIT News, Bailey discussed how misogynoir has affected the COVID-19 response. She said her book addresses “how Black women’s health has been compromised because of the way misogynoir reaches into medicine.”  

She also examines how Black women use social media, and said the book features a large section on Janet Mock and the hashtag #GirlsLikeUs. “I think that Janet Mock’s initial use of the hashtag and the community that grew around it and continues to use it is such a great example of the transformative power of what I call digital alchemy, or how marginalized groups marshal existing digital tools and repurpose them for social justice.”

As a visiting professor, Bailey will teach special subject WGS.S10 (Black Feminist Health Science Studies). She said the course is important for MIT students because she sees it “building on that education through incorporating humanities-type questions into students’ understanding of what they already study. The humanities offer such a wonderful way to peel back the layers of supposed ‘objectivity’ in science and help students see that science is made by scientists who have their own situated knowledges and biases that inform the science that they produce.” She will also host a Black Feminist Health Science Studies Symposium on March 18, 2021.

Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance will be published in May.

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