Combahee’s Daughters: American Studies Association (Chicago, IL)
Combahee and Her Daughters: Black/Queer/Feminist/Women’s Practices of Survival and Resistance
Fri, November 10, 10:00 to 11:45am, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Skyway 260, Skyway Level East Tower
Chair— Courtney Baker
Panelists—- Margo Okazawa-Rey
Aimee Meredith Cox
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
This panel convenes Black women who have conducted exceptional work engaging in daily and local projects of justice work. At a moment when interlocking oppressions of racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and more attempt to immiserate us daily in the United States, we are moved if not in fact beholden to an intersectional liberationist politics—one that has been repeated throughout the Black feminist tradition and beautifully clarified by the Combahee River Collective’s landmark “Black Feminist Statement” of 1977.
The participants—Combahee members and her daughters—conduct Black/queer/feminist work on food justice, sexual and gender pride, bodily integrity, health, love, and dignity. This labor has given and continues to create spaces and strategies for building the beloved community as it outwits the structures of white supremacy, colonialism, and heteropatriarchy. In the spirit of Patricia Hill Collins’s work on Black feminist consciousness, this session is structured to decenter the academy as the essential zone of intellectual activist work by acknowledging, to paraphrase Collins, that the Black feminist activist tradition is deep and wide, and has always entailed projects and strategies of community survival.
Format: Panelists will discuss these elemental—but by no means simple—projects of their individual justice work. Attention will be paid to how that work is reflected and informed by the queer Black feminist values articulated in the Combahee River Collective’s landmark statement. The roundtable will create a space for productive exchange on current practices of Black feminist affirmation and resistance.