Orange Alert

Author Beverly Jenkins, Crunk Feminist Collective part of SU's celebration of Black History Month

Events are part of Black History Month celebration

Feb. 7, 2012, by Rob Enslin

Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins
The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences is helping SU celebrate Black History Month with two special events. The first is a lecture by author Beverly Jenkins on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. The second is a panel discussion by the Crunk Feminist Collective (CFC) on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Watson Auditorium at Light Work (316 Waverly Ave.). Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 315-443-3707. 

SU’s Black History Month celebration is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs within the Division of Student Affairs.

“Our department is honored to be a part of this year’s Black History Month lineup,” says Gwendolyn Pough, associate professor and chair of WGS. “Our events address the importance of the black female voice to the history and legacy of African Americans in the United States, as well as the importance of that voice to the contemporary moment.”

Regarded as the nation’s premier writer of African-American historical romance fiction, Jenkins will give a presentation titled “The Three Gifts: African-American Women and Historical Fiction.” Pough says that Jenkins will discuss black history and how such knowledge is woven into her novels.

“She will probably also explore the role of African-American women in abolitionism, 19th -century black womanhood, and the Black West,” says Pough, adding that Jenkins has also lectured at Princeton and Oberlin universities and at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Jenkins has 30 published novels to her name, including the forthcoming A Wish and a Prayer: A Blessings Novel (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2012). She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers awards, two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild. In 1999, she was named one of the Top 50 Favorite African-American Writers of the 20th Century by the African American Literature Book Club.

The CFC is composed of scholars-activists committed to supporting “hip-hop generation feminists” who are queer, straight, and of color. Much of their intellectual work is shared via print publications, online blog communities, academic conferences, and public events.

Pough characterizes the CFC as a “burgeoning critical voice” for a new generation of feminist thinkers. “The collective has created a space in the blogosphere where women can claim a voice and speak truth to power. They offer astute, no-holds-barred criticism of racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-phobia and ableism,” she says.

At SU, the CFC will address feminist blogging, hip-hop feminism, and hip-hop scholarship.

The CFC draws inspiration from the term “crunk,” Southern slang for someone or something that is “hyped” or “full of energy.” Thus, a “crunk” feminist mode of resistance “will help you ‘get your mind right,’” claims the organization’s website.

“By combining terms like ‘crunk’ and ‘feminisim,’ they create a kind of productive dissonance that occurs at the edges of disciplines, on the margins of social life, and in the spaces between academic and non-academic communities,” concludes Pough.

For more information about SU’s Black History Month celebration, including a complete list of events and programs, visit the Black History Month Calendar, or contact Cedric Bolton, coordinator of student engagement, at 315-443-9676.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin