Skip to Main Content

Pembroke Center Archives

This guide provides information on the Pembroke Center Archives and the women's history collections curated and maintained therein.

About the Black Feminist Theory Collections

From Maria Stewart's first-of-its-kind public address in Boston in 1832 and Sojourner Truth's rousing "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the Woman'sThe Combahee River Collective (image not from the Pembroke Center Archives) Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851, to contemporary critical formulations such as Kimberlé Crenshaw's concept of "intersectionality" and Tricia Rose's work on structural racism, the thoughts, theories, and experiences of black women have been at the center of feminist activism and inquiry for the past two centuries. The year 2017 marked the fortieth anniversary of The Combahee River Collective's black feminist manifesto and Barbara Smith's groundbreaking treatise "Toward a Black Feminist Criticism," as well as the thirtieth anniversary of Hortense Spillers's equally influential essay "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book." In commemoration of these contributions and the continuing centrality of black feminist analytics, the Pembroke Center established the Black Feminist Theory Project in 2016.

As part of this project, scholars whose lives and work are applicable can now contribute their papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the initiative. Other features include annual lectures by notable theorists who have donated or have committed to donate their personal and professional papers to the Pembroke Center's Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project. The aim of the project is to enhance the visibility and accessibility of black feminist discourse on campus as a resource for faculty, students, and the surrounding community, while calling attention to ongoing activism and interventions at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and public policy. 

 

*The image above is of the Combahee River Collective. Please note that this image is not located within the Pembroke Center Archives.

Black Feminist Theory Collections

As part of the Pembroke Center's Feminist Theory Archive, the Black Feminist Theory Collections comprise the archival papers of notable Black feminist scholars, including Hazel V. Carby, Ann duCille, Keisha-Khan Y. Perry, Christina SharpeHortense J. Spillers, and Cheryl Wall. The collections include personal and professional papers such as handwritten diaries, notebooks, and draft writings; personal and professional correspondence; and conference and teaching materials.

Scholars who plan to contribute their papers in the near future include Daphne A. Brooks, Deborah E. McDowell, and Mireille Miller-Young, among other groundbreaking feminist theorists in the years to come. 

To learn more about collections contributed to the Pembroke Center's Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, please contact the Pembroke Center Archives at pembroke_archives@brown.edu.

Black Feminist Theory Lectures

The Black Feminist Theory Project partners with the Shauna M. Stark '76 Out of the Archive Lecture Series to host scholars whose research centers race and gender and who have committed to contributing their archival papers to the Pembroke Center Archives in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project. 

 

Past Lectures

Daphne A. Brooks: "Sort of Like an Archaeologist:" Exploring the Archive of a Blues Music Feminist (2021)

 

Shirley Moody-Turner and Sabrina Evans: "Let Us Confer:" Building the Archives of 19th Century Black Women's Activism Together (2021)

Graduate Curatorial Proctors

Current Proctors

2021: Melaine Ferdinand-King

Melaine Ferdinand-King is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Africana Studies. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, where she concentrated in Women's Studies and African Diaspora & the World. Through the Cogut Institute, she earned a doctoral certificate in Collaborative Humanities and works to develop alternative practices for interpersonal engagement in public, private, and professional spaces. Her research interests include Black Aesthetics and Culture, Black Feminism, and the Black Radical Tradition. She is currently exploring the relationship between 20th century Afro-diasporic cultural production and Black political and spiritual philosophies to expand the contours of how we conceive of and analyze Black aesthetic expression and political action in the 21st century. 

 

2021: N'Kosi Oates

N’Kosi Oates is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University. His research engages African American culture, aesthetics, literature, and social history from Reconstruction to the 1980s. His work has been published in the National Review of Black Politics, Journal of Africana Religions, and Black Perspectives. He is also a Cogut Mellon Fellow with the Cogut Institute for Humanities at Brown. N’Kosi earned his B.A. with distinction in Political Science and Communication from the University of Delaware. He also holds a M.A. in Religion from Yale University Divinity School.

 

Past Proctors

2020: Felicia Bishop Denaud

Denaud earned her B.A. cum laude from Columbia University where she pursued Sociology and African American Studies with a focus in English as a John Kluge Scholar. Her research explores the relationship between political authority, knowledge production, and resistance/rebellion/revolution in the context of the modern African diaspora. Her research attends to the spiritual and cultural dimensions of black political knowledge to both capture the social dynamics of political change and interrogate disciplinary formations. Felicia draws extensively from black intellectual and literary history, feminist theories, political philosophy, postcolonialism, and historiography. Outside the classroom, Felicia is an aspiring poet and avid cyclist.