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320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, notes, index

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

ISBN  978-1-4696-2091-6
Published: April 2015

Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women

Edited By Mia E. Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones and Barbara D. Savage

Despite recent advances in the study of black thought, black women intellectuals remain often neglected. This collection of essays by fifteen scholars of history and literature establishes black women's places in intellectual history by engaging the work of writers, educators, activists, religious leaders, and social reformers in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. Dedicated to recovering the contributions of thinkers marginalized by both their race and their gender, these essays uncover the work of unconventional intellectuals, both formally educated and self-taught, and explore the broad community of ideas in which their work participated. The end result is a field-defining and innovative volume that addresses topics ranging from religion and slavery to the politicized and gendered reappraisal of the black female body in contemporary culture.

Contributors are Mia E. Bay, Judith Byfield, Alexandra Cornelius, Thadious Davis, Corinne T. Field, Arlette Frund, Kaiama L. Glover, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, Natasha Lightfoot, Sherie Randolph, Barbara D. Savage, Jon Sensbach, Maboula Soumahoro, and Cheryl Wall.

About the Author

Mia E. Bay is professor of history at Rutgers University.

Farah J. Griffin is William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University.

Martha S. Jones is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan.

Barbara D. Savage is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.


“A groundbreaking new read. . . . One of the many strengths of this anthology is the non-traditional ways its authors define critical thinking.”

“Impressive and necessary . . . [and] every chapter merits its own attention.”
--Women’s Review of Books

“This volume promotes study of a vital fiber in the tapestry of US history...Highly recommended”

“Offers a compelling exploration of black women’s diverse intellectual labors and contributions.”
--Journal of Southern History

“A wonderful guide for activists and lay historians interested in understanding the longer trajectory of black women’s work as thinkers and doers in the world.”
--Journal of American History

"This superb and ambitious collection of essays showcases the contributions of black women to the history of ideas, recognizing that their work is generally excluded from intellectual histories. Each essay is thoroughly researched, cogently argued, and well written, building upon the pioneering work of black feminist artists, activists, and scholars who have labored to establish the field of black women's intellectual history."
--Valerie Smith, Princeton University

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