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Emergent Narratives of Girlhood: Black Girl Futures

Fri, November 9, 4:00 to 5:45pm, Westin Peachtree, Floor: Twelfth, Piedmont 1 (Twelfth)

Session Submission Type: Paper Session: Traditional Format


Over the two decades, scholarship on and about Black girls has flourished. From earlier works by Ruth Nicole Brown (2008; 2013), Venus Evans-Winters (2010), Kyra Gaunt (2006), and Oneka LaBennett (2011) that theorized the experience of Black girlhood to scholarship by Marcia Chatelain (2015), Aimee Meredith Cox (2015), LaKisha Simmons (2015), and Nazera Wright (2016), that contextualize Black girls' experiences within social, historical, and political discourses, scholarship on Black girls has grown exponentially. More publicly, Kimberle Crenshaw and African American Policy Forum (2016) in addition to Monique Morris (2016) have explained the educational obstacles Black girls face because of incarceration and fear. We steer toward Black girl futures as a response to the misogynoir that promotes the dehumanization of Black girls and their experiences. The Black Girl Movement Conference in 2016 and the Global History of Black Girlhood Conference in 2017 elucidate our imperative to formalize Black Girlhood Studies in the academy and in American culture at large. This panel is an extension of these efforts to include girls in Black feminist calls for Black women's liberation and to begin to imagine what those futures may look like via afrofuturist texts. We argue, collectively, that liberation begins with the imagination; those emergent ideas about life, pleasure, and dreams that texts like HOME, Wrinkle in Time, Kindred, Black Mirror’s Black Museum engage motivate us to think through, with, and for Black girls. Afrofuturism—or the imaginative space artists, writers, and other cultural producers have turned to for inspiration—forces us to imagine freedom as an aesthetic that we can produce and claim. We engage texts of poetry, comics, theatre, literature, series, and film to locate and imagine pleasure as Black girl becoming, a future where Black girls can and do exist.

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