2020-2021 Black Lives Matter Book Club

Black and white graphic that reads "Black Lives Matter Book Club.".

The Gender Institute is proud to launch a virtual book club featuring the work of Black feminist scholars, public intellectuals, and activists during the 2020-2021 academic year. The Gender Institute is committed to highlighting and supporting Black feminist scholarship, especially during this moment of reckoning with systemic racism, the legacies of slavery in America, misogynoir, and police brutality. We recognize that we all have work to do in order to live up to our values of anti-racism. We acknowledge that academia consistently stifles Black scholars and treats their work as “niche” or as a form of identity politics, which the hashtag #BlackintheIvory has shown clearly. 

Each book club session will be hosted by Gender Institute GA Hilary Vandenbark and a special guest from the community.    

Registration is required to receive the Zoom link: https://bit.ly/GIBookClub

We ask that all participants commit to respectful and open engagement as well as mindfulness of others.

Book cover art of "So You Want to Talk About Race?" by Ijeoma Oluo.

Fall 2020

Ijeoma Oluo, "So You Want to Talk About Race?"

October 8, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Dana Venerable, Ph.D. Candidate (English)

From Seal Press:

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans — has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair — and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

Image of Dana Venerable, a woman with long curly hair wearing a red shirt.

Dana Venerable is a writer, an occasional tap dancer, co-editor of P-QUEUE poetry journal, and an English PhD candidate at UB and 2020 UB Gender Institute Dissertation Fellow. Her dissertation explores black performance, dance, notation, social choreography, and sound through their intersections and poetics. Dana is invested in how marginalized communities resist against the archive/record, while (re)inserting themselves within it. She has written for The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, P-QUEUE, VIDA Review, Snail Trail Press and Zoomoozophone Review.

Mikki Kendall, "Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot"

Book cover art for "Hood Feminism" by Mikki Kendall.

November 5, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Mopelolade Ogunbowale, Visiting Assistant Professor (Transnational Studies)

From Penguin Random House

Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. 

In her searing collection of essays, Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.

Image of a woman in a black and white polka dot shirt and yellow blazer.

Mopelolade Ogunbowale is a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Department of Transnational Studies, University at Buffalo. Her specializations are in African Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Popular Music Studies, Urban Studies and Africana Religions. In her upcoming book project (entitled The Spirit is the Music: Osun's Aesthetic Manifestations in Reggae-Dancehall Studies), Ogunbowale attempts an African feminist reading of reggae and dancehall music practices in Nigeria.

Spring 2020

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles,

Book cover art for "Hashtag Activism" by Sarah Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles.

Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice

Date to be determined

From MIT Press:

The power of hashtag activism became clear in 2011, when #IranElection served as an organizing tool for Iranians protesting a disputed election and offered a global audience a front-row seat to a nascent revolution. Since then, activists have used a variety of hashtags, including #JusticeForTrayvon, #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen, and #MeToo to advocate, mobilize, and communicate. In this book, Sarah Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles explore how and why Twitter has become an important platform for historically disenfranchised populations, including Black Americans, women, and transgender people. They show how marginalized groups, long excluded from elite media spaces, have used Twitter hashtags to advance counternarratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele,

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Date to be determined

Book cover art for "When They Call You a Terrorist" by Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

From Macmillan Publishers:

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.

For additional scholarship on Black Lives Matter, the University Libraries Equity & Social Justice Advisory Committee has compiled this resource list:  https://research.lib.buffalo.edu/blacklivesmatter