An expanded intellectual history
Why is a Black feminist analysis of interlocked systems so critical to real transformation? Who are the Black feminist foremothers who contributed the theory that emerged with the concept of intersectionality?
The components of transformational education
How did feminist foremothers model birthing new language out of silence? What can we learn about the very meaning of education and cultural change through their texts?
Action steps needed for today
For white folks especially, what is the role of reparations in the process of learning from the intellectual, creative, activist, and spiritual labor of Black feminist foremothers?
In the summer of 2020, we witnessed and participated in a global uprising for racial justice. These uprisings not only celebrated Black life, art, and joy, but also made a clarion call for justice: that we must, collectively, name and dismantle systems of white supremacy, including anti-Black police violence.
In this course, we turn to the teachings and contributions of Black feminist foremothers in order to study how they prepared the way for today's transformations and Black Lives Matter movements. Through readings, lectures, and contemplative writing exercises, participants connect the power of the contemporary moment to the lineage of Black feminist foremothers, whose creative, intellectual, spiritual, and artistic power is the foundation of the changes rising up today.
Please note that course tuition is not paid to Feminism School. Rather tuition is made in offerings to pay down Black student loan debt, an act of reparations we invite of participants who are not Black or Indigenous to the land this course was made on. (This course is free to Black and Indigenous participants. Sliding scale is available as needed for those paying tuition/reparations for the course.)
An introduction to the field of Black feminist studies—an intellectual history not taught in most white and male centered education systems.
18 scholarly, contemplative lectures by Dr. George on how key texts of U.S. Black feminist history, from 1977 onward, helped build the contemporary social movements for Black Lives Matter.
Prompts within the lectures for contemplative writing practices so that you can reflect in creative and personal ways on the transformative insights from Black feminist foremothers.
Full transcriptions for each audio lecture to support visual learners.
In order to honor the labor of the generations of Black feminist foremothers and release abundance, we ask that white students with material security, as well as non Black and non Indigenous students with material security, pay their tuition through a payment to the student loan debt of Dr. Giavanni Washington. Black and Indigenous students receive this course freely.
Thank you for being part of co-creating a feminist economy!
We recommend ordering books from a local bookstore when possible instead of Amazon.
Week 1: Barbara Smith
"The Combahee River Collective Statement" (1977, co-written by Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, and Demita Frazier). You can read it here.
How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (2017)
Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983, republished 2000)
Week 2: Barbara Smith
"Towards a Black Feminist Criticism" (1978, PDF included in the class)
Yours in the Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism (1984, co-written by Barbara Smith, Elly Bulkin, and Minnie Bruce Pratt)
Week 3: Audre Lorde
Select essays from her book Zami, Sister Outsider, Undersong
Week 4: Octavia Butler
Kindred (1980 science fiction novel)
Week 5: Kimberlé Crenshaw
"Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color" (1989). You can read it here.
The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor by Patricia Williams (1991)
Week 6: Saidiya Hartman
Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Trade (2007)
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (2019)