“Centering the Lives of Black Women and Girls” lecture series runs through December 1, 2016

The “Centering the Lives of Black Women and Girls” lecture series at Vassar College will run through December 1, 2016. The series, which kicked off with a lecture by author Andrea Pinkney in October, brings scholars, writers and performers to the college to address issues impacting black women. All events are free and open to the public and will be held in the Villard Room of Main Building.

The remainder of the series will feature the following lectures:

adrienne maree brown, “Liberating Imaginations,” Thursday, November 3, 5:30pm
In this talk, brown will explore how the world we live in now was someone's imagining of how power, race, gender, economy and justice would work. She  will offer stories, paths and practices for imagination growth. 

Brown is the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements.  She has helped to launch a loose network of Octavia Butler and Emergent Strategy Reading Groups and is working with Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network on other ways of extending Butler’s work.

Dr. Ysaÿe  Barnwell, “A Community Sing,” November 10, 5:30pm
A longtime member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Barnwell will conduct a fun and easy singing session in the “oral tradition” for anyone who wants to sing with other people and has no musical training! The gathered community becomes a choir of uncommon voices singing in 4 to 6 part harmony and raising the roof!

Barnwell is a recording artist, a commissioned composer, the author of two children’s books, and an actress.  She has been awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from her alma mater, the State University of New York at Geneseo, the Meadville Lombard Theological School, the Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Chicago Theological Seminary.  In 2016 President Barack Obama nominated her for the National Council on the Arts.

Sheltreese McCoy, A Purpose to Service: Intersectional Spirituality and Social Justice,” November 17, 5:30pm
McCoy will lead a community conversation about intersectional spirituality and how it influences her work in social justice. This will be a lively candid discussion about moving justice from the margins to the center and our moral imperative to work for our collective liberation.

McCoy is a Black, queer, disabled, working class, preacher’s kid from the Midwest. She is the founder of Radical Higher education Innovations (RHedI, LLC) a QTPOC (queer trans people of color) social justice firm.

Jasmine Syedullah, “The Fugitive Justice and the Abolition of the Master/ Slave Girl Dialectic,” December 1, 2016, 5:30pm
This talk places the writings of formerly enslaved mother and abolitionist Harriet Jacobs at the center of a political theory of fugitive justice born out of the everyday struggles of escaped and free women, men, and families throughout the South to end slavery. Jacobs’s Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl is a distinctly black maternal call for an end to slavery that re-imagines traditionally patriarchal relationships to property, rights, and freedom—a call for abolition that celebrates a desire to remain human while remaining fugitive.

Syedullah is a political theorist and scholar in the radical intellectual tradition. Her research focuses on figurations of freedom and captivity from the plantation to the prison. Syedullah earned her Ph.D. in politics from the University of California—Santa Cruz.  Syedullah joined the Sociology Department at Vassar as a Visiting Assistant Professor of race and ethnicity in fall 2016. 

This series is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Faculty, Africana Studies Program, the Education Department, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (


Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, November 2, 2016