The Portable Anna Julia Cooper

Posted in Anthologies, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-08-25 01:04Z by Steven

The Portable Anna Julia Cooper

Penguin Classics (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
592 pages
5-1/16 x 7-3/4
Paperback ISBN: 9780143135067
Ebook ISBN: 9780525506713
Audiobook ISBN: 9780593457993

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)

Edited by:

Shirley Moody-Turner, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

A collection of essential writings from the iconic foremother of Black women’s intellectual history, feminism, and activism, who helped pave the way for modern social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name

The Portable Anna Julia Cooper brings together, for the first time, Anna Julia Cooper’s major collection of essays, A Voice from the South, along with several previously unpublished poems, plays, journalism and selected correspondences, including over thirty previously unpublished letters between Anna Julia Cooper and W. E. B. Du Bois. The Portable Anna Julia Cooper will introduce a new generation of readers to an educator, public intellectual, and community activist whose prescient insights and eloquent prose underlie some of the most important developments in modern American intellectual thought and African American social and political activism.

Recognized as the iconic foremother of Black women’s intellectual history and activism, Cooper (1858-1964) penned one of the most forceful and enduring statements of Black feminist thought to come of out of the nineteenth century. Attention to her work has grown exponentially over the years–her words have been memorialized in the US passport and, in 2009, she was commemorated with a US postal stamp. Cooper’s writings on the centrality of Black girls and women to our larger national discourse has proved especially prescient in this moment of Black Lives Matter, Say Her Name, and the recent protests that have shaken the nation.

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PHIL 539: Critical Philosophy of Race

Posted in Course Offerings, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2013-04-02 17:30Z by Steven

PHIL 539: Critical Philosophy of Race

Pennsylvania State University
Summer 2012

The study of philosophical issues raised by racism and by the concept of race and other related concepts.

This course provides an intensive examination of a major area of philosophical research: the philosophical examination of racism and of our thinking about race. It will investigate philosophical debates about such topics as mixed-race identity, going beyond the Black-White binary, the distinction between racism and xenophobia, the distinction between race and ethnicity, the debate about the reality of race, as well as questions about the nature and genealogy of racism. The course will have a historical component that will show how thinking in terms of the concept of race first developed and was transformed across time as well as addressing contemporary issues that includes an examination both of the dominant theories and definitions or racial identity and of ethical and political questions raised by the persistence of the notion of race. The course will also examine debates about the complicity of certain canonical figures in the history of philosophy, such as Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in the conceptualization of race and the spread of philosophical racism. In addition to these two philosophers the following authors will be among those studied: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Frederick Douglass, Anténor Firmin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Alain Locke, Paulette Nardal, Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Anthony Kwame Appiah, Gloria Anzaldúa, Bernard Boxill, and Angela Davis. Race will be examined in its relation to other ways of thinking about human difference, including class, gender, nationality, religion, and sexuality. Attention will be given to diverse experiences in the US context, such as those of African Americans, Latina/os, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Irish Americans, and so on. In addition to examining the role race has played and continues to play in the United States of America, the ways in which race is approached in other parts of the world, for example in China, will also be the subject of investigation. The course content will vary, dependent upon the instructor.

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Eugenic Feminisms in Late Nineteenth-Century America

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-05-14 03:36Z by Steven

Eugenic Feminisms in Late Nineteenth-Century America

Genders: Presenting Innovative Work In the Arts, Ahumanities and Social Theories
Number 31 (2000)
98 paragraphs

Stephanie Athey, Associate Professor of English
Lasell College, Newton, Massachusetts

Reading Race in Victoria Woodhull, Frances Willard, Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells

 This essay examines the American intersections of eugenic discourse and organized feminism—black and white—in the 1890s. Reading work by Frances Willard, Victoria Woodhull, Anna Julia Cooper, and Ida B. Wells, I explore the emergence of female “sovereignty” or self-determination of the body as a racially charged concept at the base of feminist work.

A central tenet of twentieth-century feminisms, the concept of female sovereignty–women’s economic, political, sexual and reproductive autonomy–was first defined, debated and justified through eugenic and imperialist discourse at the turn of the last century. Black and white feminist discourse of the period made the politically enfranchised, legally protected body both the goal and token of full citizenship. However, within the frameworks white women elaborated, the economic, political, sexual, and reproductive autonomy of black and white women were set fundamentally at odds.

… Even when the organized societies of the American eugenics movement came to focus exclusively on “better breeding” as the only lasting means of race improvement, many black and white women’s organizations retained euthenic projects of regenerative reform well into the twentieth century, promoting the eugenic benefits of social hygiene, temperance reform, training in domestic science, and the like. The eugenic interests of both Frances Willard and Victoria Woodhull, for instance, combine race-driven reproductive agendas with other regenerative environmental reforms.

Black men and club women shared these interests as well. African American artists and intellectuals promoted black race purity as a means of conserving “our physical powers, our intellectual endowments, our spiritual ideals.” In the face of white racial theories, these race conservationists promoted the positive value of blackness. Black nationalists like DuBois, T. Thomas Fortune, Alexander Crummell, stressed different dangers related to race mixing, ranging from loss of black culture and consciousness to a biological “loss of vitality” or “vitiation of race characteristics and tendencies.” Other prominent African Americans supported a eugenics of race mixing or “amalgamation” as a means of genetic improvement. Proponents like Charles Chesnutt or Pauline Hopkins imagined a new American line that blended the strengths of a multiracial heritage but ultimately “conform[ed] closely to the white type.” All these groups reinforced color-based distinctions, and like white eugenists, these African Americans also measured racial fitness in terms of bourgeois class and gender conventions.

Kevin Gaines has argued that though the elite male voice of race conservation publicly defended elite black women against accusations of unchastity, they also frequently reinforced white racist slander, presuming lower-class and rural women’s complicity in systemic sexual abuse. Certainly, racist and sexist theories of black female degeneracy were powerfully resisted by black women’s groups. Yet white supremacist hereditarian and nativist premises were absorbed by black women’s organizations as well. For instance, leaders of the African American, Boston-based Women’s Era Club fought against lynching and racial segregation while maintaining elitist and nativist positions on working class culture and “foreigners,” and an attendant interest in “social hygiene.” As black women refashioned the white codes of bourgeois womanhood into black feminist resistance, their “politics of respectability” was fused to a civilizationist uplift ideology; this for some made it compatible with eugenic discourses of degeneracy. For instance, Nannie Burroughs weighs euthenic against eugenic strategies in her discussion of black poverty in Washington. While the “student of euthenics,” she says, “believes that the shortest cut to health is by creating a clean environment… to do a work that will abide we must first “get the alley’ out of the seventeen thousand Negroes.”…

Read the entire article here.

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