sealPurdue News

February 13, 2003

Purdue sponsors symposium on black women's studies

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Scholars will trace the development of black women's studies, discuss issues facing black women and explore potential research during a symposium at Purdue University from Feb. 27 through March 1.

The symposium, entitled Black Women's Studies and the Academy: A National Symposium, will begin at 8:30 a.m. each day at Stewart Center. Speakers include Delores P. Aldridge, a professor of sociology and African-American studies at Emory University; Darlene Clark Hine, a professor of history at Michigan State University; Valerie Lee, professor and chair of the Department of English at Ohio State University; Obioma G. Nnaemeka, director of women's studies at Indiana University; and Jessie Carney Smith, a professor of humanities and librarian at Fisk University.

Aldridge, the first African-American faculty member at Emory University, is considered one of the pioneering architects of black/African studies. She served as the founding director of the south's first Black Studies Program, which she directed for 19 years. She also served two terms as president of the National Council for Black Studies.

Hine, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 2002, is a world-renowned scholar of black women's studies. Her works include "When the Truth is Told: A History of Black Women's Culture and Community in Indiana, 1874-1950" (1981), "Shining Tread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America" (1998), "Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia"(1993) and "Black Women and Slavery in the Americas"(1993), among others.

Lee, a former chair of the Department of Women's Studies at Ohio State University, recently helped launch a doctorate program in women's studies with a specialization in Latina/black feminisms. She is the author of "Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double Dutched Readings." She also served as the editor of the forthcoming "Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature."

Nnaemeka serves as president of the Association of African Women Scholars and list administrator of the association's Internet discussion group on gender issues in Africa. She has designed and taught courses on topics ranging from black women writers, feminist theory and global feminisms to French/Francophone literatures, oral and written literatures of Africa and the African diaspora and postcolonial discourse. Her works include "The Politics of (M)Othering: Womanhood, Identity and Resistance in African Literature" (1997) and "Sisterhood, Feminisms and Power: From Africa to the Diaspora" (1998).

Smith has directed several institute research programs and internships on library science and ethnic studies at Fisk University. She is the author of "Notable Black American Women" (1991), "Notable Black American Women Book II" (1996), "Epic Lives: One Hundred Black Women Who Made a Difference" (1992) and "Notable Black American Women, Book III" (2002).

The symposium has attracted scholars from throughout the world. In addition to the plenary sessions to be addressed by Aldridge, Hine, Lee, Nnaemeka and Smith, approximately 25 panel presentations will be delivered. Yale, Duke, Stanford, Penn State and the University of Minnesota are among the many institutions that will be represented.

The symposium is free for Purdue faculty, staff and students, $22 for non-Purdue students and $42 for non-Purdue faculty and staff. For a registration form, contact Purdue Black Cultural Center librarian Dorothy Ann Washington at (765) 494-3093 or visit the center's Web site.

The symposium is sponsored by the Black Cultural Center, the African American Studies and Research Center, the American Studies Program, the Diversity Resource Office, the Office of the Provost, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Women's Resource Office and the Women's Studies Program.

CONTACT: Dorothy Ann Washington, (765) 494-3093,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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