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Notable Legal Scholars Headline Spelman College Ida B. Wells-Barnett Lecture Series

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 Spelman College, Cosby Adademic Center  See map
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The 2013-2014 Spelman College Ida B. Wells-Barnett Lecture Series will close out with internationally-recognized legal scholars Kimberlé Crenshaw, J.D., professor of law at UCLA School of Law and Dorothy Roberts, J.D., George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania Law School. Organized by the Teaching Resource and Research Center, each lecture is free and open to the public.

Themed Black (W)holes and Geometry: The Politics of Black Women's Bodies, this year’s series  addresses the connection between race, science, sexuality and the politics of Black women’s bodies. Speakers will provide context on how these social categories interact to create a system of oppression and discrimination for Black women.

“The work of these two legal scholars share a profound concern with the burdening of women's bodies by discriminatory work conditions, wages too inadequate for all of their responsibilities, and laws that try to mandate that all women and girls have children ― whether they choose to or not,” said Mona Phillips, Ph.D., professor of sociology and director of the Spelman College Teaching Resource and Research Center. “Roberts and Crenshaw also remind us that it is impossible to talk about women's health without taking seriously the social and economic contexts in which women live.”

Lecturing on "Voices of the Unheard: The Endangerment of Black Women and Girls," Crenshaw will discuss the “school-to-prison pipeline” and explore why the “pipeline” analogy may not accurately capture the education-system pathways to confinement for Black girls. Crenshaw’s work has popularized the concept of “intersectionality,” which explores how race, gender and class intersect, contributing to injustice and social inequality.

Roberts’ lecture will center on her most recent book Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century (2011), one of the works central to this year’s theme. A renowned social justice advocate, Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race and class in legal issues. She has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare and bioethics. The upcoming lecture schedule is as follows:


Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, J.D.
Jan. 27, 2014
Lecture: 6 p.m.
Spelman College
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby


Dorothy Roberts, J.D.
Feb. 11, 2014
Lecture: 6 p.m.
Spelman College
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby

Supported by the Spelman College Office of the President and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this year’s theme is inspired by the article “Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Black Female Sexuality (1994)” written by Spelman alumna and opening lecturer, Evelynn Hammonds, Ph.D., C’76, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of History of Science and African-American Studies, Harvard University.

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 2012 to promote interdisciplinarity, a core value of the College. The series is named for the intellectual, writer and activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), who used multiple analytical languages to confront the politics of the Black body as well as the complexities of full citizenship for Black women and men. The 2012-2013 theme was More than a Vote: Women's Struggle for Full Citizenship. The distinguished lecturers were renowned activists and professors Angela Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry. The annual theme provides an intellectual umbrella for lectures, readings, events, panels and discussion groups throughout the academic year.


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; former Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu. Directions to Spelman College.


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