The Herstory of this Website
This webspace was born in 2013 as part of a college course called "African American Women's Rhetorics." That course offered an introductory examination into Black women's discourses across essays, speeches, letters, art, dance, scholarship, song, and theory. I hoped that this digital space--- sitting outside of the empire-based conceptions of learning and knowing that today's corporate universities often manifest---would allow for a more dynamic and interactive, embodied experience with Black women's discourses. To put it most simply, it was just impossible to create another syllabus using paper in an age where meaning is made through multimedia. And since I chose to forego a university's digital interface, we are here. We are not off the grid, but we have chosen our own grid. That 2013 course and the classes in its wake today--- courses and experiences related to gender studies from my own unique vantage point as a Black Feminist--- will all be located here at this space. ~Carmen Kynard
August 2015 witnessed this site moving more explicitly into general gender studies courses. Firmly dedicated to interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to analyses of gender, we center the following: 1) women of color feminisms, 2) queer theory--- particularly queer of color critique, 3) masculinities studies, 4) trans studies, and 5) hip hop feminism. These work as lens and location for a critical foundation for DOING gender (as opposed to merely theorizing gender studies). These lenses and locations offer the most compelling sites for understanding contemporary structural oppression, challenges to and definitions of feminist theory, and new openings for rethinking gender and social control. Though there is no assumption that we will end with a complete or exhaustive study of gender, these lenses and locations lead us straight into what a Black Feminist Rhetorician would consider the most compelling ideas to take up for the 21st century: the body and its performances, pleasures, desires, and policing; radical subjectivities within lived experiences of oppression and resistance; white social rules under language and power; immigration, imperialism, diaspora, and agency in the culture of neoliberalism.
The curriculum of the gender studies courses collected at this website asks students to locate themselves along multiple intersectional axes and claim who they are and the world they are building. Doing that work from and within my own standpoint as Black Feminist Rhetorician offers some integrity to that request... which this website makes at least one kind of attempt at mirroring.
Please welcome Dominique Mendez-Rose and Denise Pazmino. Their footsteps---digital and analog--- will be worth following!
Today, this website is a bit different. It is an archive of research and curricular work and student projects now. Every webpage that you click on here is content created by Carmen Kynard or a student in one of my classes. These days, you can also find us at Digital Blackness/Digirhetorics.... or.... Funkdafied... or.... Black Feminist Pedagogies. This serves as a reminder that alternative spaces to do the work we want are always available.