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Collaborative Visions: Leveraging Feminist Theory and Praxis to Address Social Justice

In August 2023, the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies was awarded a grant from the Mellon Foundation to support a project entitled “Collaborative Visions: Leveraging Feminist Theory and Praxis to Address Social Justice.” The purpose of the grant is to establish and strengthen intra-academic and university-community partnerships to work collectively to understand, analyze, and respond to some of the most pressing issues of social justice today.
Our first event is coming up:
Black Queerness and the Everyday

Friday April 12, 2024

Hayti Heritage Center; 804 Fayetteville St. Durham

Schedule of Events

10:00 a.m.: Welcome (coffee and pastries)

10:30: Opening Remarks: Ariana Vigil, Professor, UNC-CH

Facilitators: Omisade Burney-Scott, Black Girls Guide to Surviving Menopause; Omisade Burney-Scott (she / her) is a Black southern 7th generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social justice. She is the Creator of the Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause, a multimedia culture and narrative shift reproductive justice project.

Desmera Gatewood: mother, writer, and human rights activist.  She currently works on voting rights at a triangle-based nonprofit.  She’s a native of Durham, North Carolina and currently lives in the triangle.

10:45 – 12:00 p.m.: Roundtable One


Stephanie Allen, Stephanie Andrea Allen, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, creative writer, small press publisher, and Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her research centers Black lesbian cultural histories and Black feminisms through various expressions, including literature, film, and other print and visual media.

Gemnyii, Gemynii is a Durham based multidisciplinary artist, DJ, party curator, and she is the current Director of Housing & Therapy Services at LGBTQ Center of Durham. One of the main focuses of all of her roles is to support and uplift her people through intentional images, safe spaces, connecting folks to resources and encouraging the world to PAY BLACK FEMMES!

Carol Lautier, Carol Lautier is Director of Movement Building at Demos, a national policy and advocacy organization. Carol has a B.A. with Honors in Women’s Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in African American Studies from Columbia University. Carol earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the George Washington University in 2018, where her academic research focused on the intersection of race, sexuality, and Christian identity in post-civil rights political activism.


12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch (provided) + Conversation


1:15 – 2:45 p.m.: Roundtable Two


Belinda Deneen Wallace, Belinda Deneen Wallace is an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico in the Department of English Language and Literature, where she teaches courses in Afrofuturism, Contemporary Caribbean Literature and Culture, Afro-Diaspora and Afro-Latinx Studies, Postcolonial Literature(s), and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research is rooted in intersectionality and critical race theory and her writings have appeared in Cultural Dynamics; Journal of Canadian Studies; Women, Gender and Families of Color; and ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics, and Consciousness. Dr. Wallace is presently completing her first manuscript, which queers literary reimaginings of Caribbean slave rebellions, political revolutions, and socio-cultural resistance movements through an examination of historiographic metafiction.

Grace McNealy: Grace McNealy holds an MA in English literature and a BA in English with additional degrees in Spanish and interdisciplinary liberal arts, all from the University of New Mexico. Her research takes a comparative approach to twentieth- and twenty-first-century film and literature, particularly through the lens of queer theory and intersectionality. Her recent writing includes “Dispatches from Utopia: Black Queer Nightlife in Shakedown” (Women, Gender, and Families of Color, forthcoming) and “Queering the Gaze: Visualizing Desire in Lacanian Film Theory” (Whatever: A Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theories and Studies, April 2021).

Assata: Assata is an accomplished and resourceful emerging artist whose skill to fluidly combine mediums using surrealism and magical realism is breathtaking. Assata’s work contains a series of self portraits that they view as a roadmap to their ancestral knowledge.  They use plaster, resin, mirror shards, ceramic, painting, woodworking and animation to capture the feeling of imagination, hope, isolation, and all of their intimate thoughts on their journey to self acceptance. Assata is a vivid daydreamer, they often see visions so real they feel they could touch them.  Their surreal dreams combine with their passion for the earth, their journey with self-love as a Black queer person and wisdom acquired from grassroots organizing to form surreal mixed media artworks.  Assata’s hope is that by being vulnerable with their work they will inspire others to dream of a future rooted in love.

2:45 p.m.: Closing Remarks, Tanya Shields, Associate Professor, UNC-CH

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