New Summer Institute Focuses on Black Feminist Theory

Pink background with three heads, words read black feminist theory summer institute

The Department of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies will hold the first annual Black Feminist Theory Summer Institute on August 1–5.

With the theme of “Black Life & Living,” the event for graduate students will bring together a cross-institution intellectual community of scholars to immerse themselves in the field of Black feminist theory.

Seventh year Ph.D. candidate Julien Fischer — whose work focuses on transgender studies, feminist and queer theory, psychoanalysis and the history of medicine — is one of the 10 scholars who will attend the institute. “There has never been anything like this before, and I am excited to be a part of a program of this kind,” he said. 

At the institute, attendees will work closely and attend lectures with eight prominent scholars from across the country. Including the likes of Sarah Jane Cervenak, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies and African American and African Diaspora Studies at UNC Greensboro, their work collectively thinks about the question of Black life in a long moment when it remains under threat from myriad forms of violence, yet also persists and resists. 

Other institute faculty include La Marr Jurelle Bruce (University of Maryland), Sharon Holland (University of North Carolina), LaMonda Horton-Stallings (Georgetown University), Justin Mann (Northwestern University), Emily Owens (Brown University), Kevin Quashie (Brown University), and Samantha Pinto (University of Texas). 

“We’re glad to see all these Black feminist theorists coming together,” said Fischer. “This summer institute will bring in more scholars and students.”

“My hope is that the summer institute produces intellectual space for scholars from across institutions to think collectively about the freedom-making capacity of black feminist theory,” said chair of GSF Chair Jennifer Nash.

“Black feminist thinkers have always insisted that another world is possible, an insistence that feels particularly urgent given the conditions of the present,” said Nash. “My hope is that our gathering this summer allows us to think collectively about Black living, Black life and Black aliveness in all of its complexity and heterogeneity.”