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Legacy of Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm TC ’51 Highlighted at Annual Speaker Series
Nov. 16, 2015
“What would it mean if President Obama or Hillary Clinton evoked Shirley Chisholm’s name?” asks Zinga A. Fraser Ph.D., the new director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, “because, in many ways, she not only paves the way for them, she provides a trajectory and strategy on how to create political coalitions that cross boundaries.”
Fraser, a former endowed post-doctoral fellow in women’s and gender studies and recipient of the American Political Science Association‘s 2014 Byran Jackson Dissertation Research on Minority Politics Award, has organized this year’s Shirley Chisholm Day talk, held on Nov. 17 in the Penthouse of the Brooklyn College Student Center. The keynote address will be delivered by Robin Kelley, the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at the University of California-Los Angeles. The annual event celebrates the legacy of Shirley Chisholm ’46, who became the first major-party black candidate for president of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“She provides what Professor Kelley identifies as ‘the freedom dream’—that is, how we can reimagine and understand freedom, despite the outcome,” adds Fraser.
Chisholm’s memoir Unbought and Unbossed details her grassroots, community-building efforts among a wide variety of constituencies, including blacks, whites, Latinos, lower-income and middle-class families, women across demographics, and the LGBT community. Her work with the last group, Fraser says, was ahead of its time and often overlooked by scholars. It also illustrates how difficult forging these alliances can be, even in a place like Brooklyn, which, according to Fraser, has one of the highest numbers of black women elected to public office in the country.
Chief among her responsibilities, Zinga A. Fraser, Ph.D., the new director of the Brooklyn College Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, is looking forward to promoting Chisholm’s continued importance to Brooklyn and beyond.
“Chisholm also tells us a great deal about the possibility and importance of learning from political failures,” says Fraser. “As much as her story is about the aspirational, groundbreaking work that she did, it’s also about the constraints in coalition building. In the end, it wasn’t her ability to connect these groups, but the inability of these groups to work together for a common cause. But even in her failure to get various coalitions to work collectively, she provides us with some of the playbook that would later be utilized by our current president.”
This semester is Fraser’s first as director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, whose archive, housed at the Brooklyn College Library, is the world’s largest for Chisholm-related artifacts. Fraser took over the role from Barbara Winslow and is very excited about the efforts to raise Chisholm’s profile as a central and influential figure in the contemporary political landscape.
“The goal is to connect Chisholm’s legacy to present-day conversations around race, gender, politics and social and economic inequality. Moreover, I hope to place Chisholm and her legacy in context with current issues that impact the Brooklyn communities she supported,” says Fraser. “That is why we have had a wide array of speakers both national and local. So part of her legacy is the political empowerment of marginalized communities, as well as providing a model for political accountability. She advocated for those considered invisible by politicians and the media.”
Fraser is currently writing a book that is a comparative study of Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, as well as other black women political figures, in the context of examining their political genius, the different strategies they used to affect change, and how they negotiated the intersections of racism, misogyny, and sexism. Fraser also hopes to raise awareness and funds to accomplish things like bolstering the archive, creating paid internships that will allow students to work on Chisholm-related projects and conferences and perhaps even financing scholarships in Chisholm’s name.
To learn more about Shirley Chisholm and the work of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, please visit the project’s website. See the Brooklyn College calendar for details about the Shirley Chisholm Day event.
Source: Brooklyn College
November 13, 2015
English and African American Studies Prof. Farah Jasmine Griffin (left) and Dean of Social Sciences Alondra Nelson
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 13, 2015) — Columbia University has become a founding member of the White House-sponsored Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research, a national effort to engage colleges, universities and other mission-driven organizations in meaningful action to support research and improve public policy regarding women and girls of color. Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and Dean of Social Sciences for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Alondra Nelson will lead Columbia’s participation together with Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies.
Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls, in collaboration with the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, is hosting a day-long forum on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, focused on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers. The Council on Women and Girls also released a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow up to the 2014 report, and announced independent commitments to close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color.
“We are proud to work with the White House in applying Columbia’s deep expertise and commitment to addressing the most challenging issues facing our society including realizing the promise of equal opportunity and social justice,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger. “The new Collaborative to Advance Equity for Women and Girls of Color through Research will have an enthusiastic group of partners at Columbia and we’re grateful that Dean Alondra Nelson and Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin have taken on a leadership role.”
Dean Nelson, an authority on the sociology of science and medicine, is author of the forthcoming book The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.
“Columbia will be a great partner in this initiative of the White House Council on Women and Girls,” said Nelson. “Ongoing and new research and programming here about women and girls of color will contribute to a critical public policy dialogue about barriers to racial and gender equality and will be a catalyst for change.”
Professor Griffin, an expert on American and African American literature, music, history and politics, is most recently author of Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II.
“Faculty and students across Columbia are already engaged in a range of efforts to advance equity for women and girls of color,” said Griffin. “As part of an iconic and diverse community in New York City, we are in an ideal position to bring not only our scholarship but also our first-hand experience to collaborating with the Obama administration and our academic colleagues around the nation.”
Among Columbia’s contributions to the collaborative will be a conference this coming spring on issues of concern to African American girls organized by Griffin and Carla Shedd, assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies. The meeting of scholars, activists, artists, and girls will be sponsored by the Office of the President, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Social Science, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies, with support from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.
Next summer, the Division of Social Sciences will continue a “Feminist Seminar for Girls” launched last summer by Dean Nelson in partnership with the YWCA of New York City.
About Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.
BLACK GIRL MOVEMENT CONFERENCE
Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus
The Black Girl Movement is proud to have the following organizations as Co-Sponsors.
Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies
Columbia University Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Columbia University Office of the President
Dean for Social Sciences Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
Fordham University African and African American Studies
A Long Walk Home
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
Camille A. Brown & Dancers
Girls for Gender Equity
“RACIALIZATION, RACIAL IDENTITY, AND RACE BLINDNESS: A COMPARISON OF THE U.S., SOUTH AFRICA, AND BRAZIL”
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2015
Center for Race, Philosophy & Social Justice Speaker Series
Lawrence Blum, University of Massachusetts
Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education and Professor of Philoshopy
Visiting Professor, Teachers College
Lawrence Blum is Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of “I’m Not a Racist, But…”: The Moral Quandary of Race (Cornell 2002), selected as best social philosophy book of the year by the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and High Schools, Race, and America’s Future: What Students Can Teach Us About Morality, Diversity, and Community (Harvard Education Press 2012). Professor Blum has been a visiting professor at Stanford School of Education, UCLA, Rhodes University in South Africa, and is currently a visiting professor at Teachers College in the Philosophy and Education Program
**Note: No paper to be distributed in advance**
Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Columbia University, Morningside Campus
CONVERSATIONS WITH AIMEE MEREDITH COX
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015
Associate Professor of African and African American Studies, Fordham University.
‘Your Obedience Will Protect You’ and Other Myths of Black Girlhood
Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus
754 Shermerhorn Ext. (Seminar Room)
Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality (IRWGS)
HireNYC Career Fair Monday 11/9/15
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Hey IRAAS Alumni Fam!The temps may be falling outside but you’re cordially invited to TURN UP in Brooklyn this weekend at The “A” Game: A Brooklyn Spades & Day Party hosted by Denaka CC ’04.This good old-fashioned card party features all of your favorite card games — spades, gin, war and UNO — at the Brooklyn Tap House this Saturday, November 7th. Door prizes plus great food and drink specials will be offered. DJ Monday Blue will be spinning classic 80’s/90’s R&B so there will be plenty dancing for non-card players, too! Bring your friends, bring your appetites, and of course, bring your “A” game!Registration is FREE by Thursday November 5th, and $5 thereafter or at the door.Hope to see you there!
The next IRAAS Alumni Council meeting will be held on Friday, November 20 at 7pm in our usual spot: the IRAAS seminar room, located in 758 Schermerhorn Extension on Columbia campus.
Please RSVP to this email by Sunday, November 15, if you plan on attending. Hope to see you there.
Also, feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have agenda items, announcements, etc.\
E-mail us for conference call details.