S Y M P O S I U M O R G A N I Z E R S
Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown (Gender and Women’s Studies/Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership) is a leading pioneer in the subfield of hip hop feminist pedagogy. She has authored two books on the subject, Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward a Hip hop Feminist Pedagogy and Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood, just out on University of Illinois Press (2013). She was also co-edited with Dr. Chamara Kwakye the collection Wish To Live: The Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader (2012). Most recently, Brown was a featured keynote panelist at the Hip Hop Literacies: Pedagogies for Social Change Conference (February 2013) hosted by The Ohio State University. Currently, Brown is working on a hip hop feminist choreopoem performance that chronicles her experiences working with young Black girls, motherhood, civic disengagement, and teaching hip hop feminism at the university. Brown is also founder and co-organizer of Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), a collective practice of Black girlhood celebration that explores and affirms Black girls’ creativity and knowledge among and with middle, high school, and university students.
Karen Flynn (Gender and Women’s Studies/African American Studies) focuses on women and migration through feminist postcolonial studies and critical anti-racist theory. In Moving Beyond Borders: A History of Black Canadian and Caribbean Women in the Diaspora (University of Toronto Press, 2011), Flynn traces a history of Black women in Canada throughout the mid-twentieth century through oral histories with Black nurses and other health care workers. Flynn recently completed an essay called, “It’s ‘More than a ‘Ghetto Story’: Using Dancehall and Rap Music in the Classroom," exploring the value of rap and dancehall music as pedagogical tools in the classroom. Using hip-hop and dancehall music, a derivative of Jamaican reggae, Flynn argues that students’ proclivity to overlook the specificity of Black women’s subjectivities is reflective of hip-hop culture generally, in which Black women’s contributions are often ignored or trivialized. Flynn uses hip-hop feminisms to call attention to this oversight, demonstrating how Black women and girls are not only consumers, but contributors to hip hop culture. Equally significant, hip-hop feminism offers a complex examination of rap music, especially those aspects of the genre that trouble common sensibilities. The article will appear in An Illinois Sampler: Talking about Teaching and Research on the Prairie, edited by Antoinette Burton and Mary-Ann Winklemes (forthcoming, University of Illinois Press).
Trained as a historian with a critical focus on cultural production and empire, Fiona I. B. Ngô (Asian American Studies/Gender and Women’s Studies) engages queer of color critique in her forthcoming book Imperial Blues: Geographies of Race and Sex in Jazz Age New York (Duke University Press, February 2014). Ngô argues that the “domestic” organization of race and sexuality during the Jazz Age, and in New York City as an exemplar of this period’s sensibilities, cannot be understood outside the growing ambitions of contemporary U.S. empire. Imperial Blues thus uniquely addresses the circulation and “translation” of Asians in America (and to a lesser degree, Puerto Ricans and Cubans) as well as orientalisms and other imperial aesthetics, into the study of the Harlem Renaissance and public amusements. Her next book on aesthetics is called Structures of Sense. Ngô is also co-editor with Elizabeth Stinson of the “Punk Anteriors” special issue of Women & Performance (2012), and contributed to the issue an essay called “Punk in the Shadow of War,” examining the racial and geopolitical mapping of postwar Los Angeles in the 1970s in the punk imaginary.
Informed by transnational feminist studies and postcolonial studies, Mimi Thi Nguyen (Gender and Women’s Studies/Asian American Studies) focuses her scholarship on those social forms that promise freedom, beauty, and life, but that deliver these goods as forces. Her first book, The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke University Press, 2012), focuses on how U.S. wars in the late twentieth-century are underwritten by the promise that war will grant freedom to benighted others. Nguyen is also a long-time zine writer, and editor of the compilation zine Race Riot (1997, 2002) the first (maybe) compilation zine by and for punks of color to comprehensively address race and racisms in punk and riot grrrl. She has been a columnist for the award-winning (now defunct) Chicago-based magazine Punk Planet, a years-long volunteer at the longest-running punk magazine Maximumrocknroll, and an active collaborator with the POC Zine Project, an advocacy and archive project. These collaborations include several donations of zines by people of color to the Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library at New York University, and the Barnard Zine Library at Barnard College, and a touring speakers’ bureau. Nguyen toured with other members of the POC Zine Project in Fall 2012 and Fall 2013, reading from her zines in dozens of cities. She published the essay “Race, Riot Grrrl, and Revival” in the “Punk Anteriors” special issue of Women & Performance (2012), and the chapbook PUNK with Golnar Nikpour on Sarah McCarry's Guillotine Press (June 2013).
Born and raised in Central Illinois, Susan Briana Livingston, holds a BFA in both Ceramics and Art History, an MA in Art Education, and is a PhD candidate in Art Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an expected defense date of April 2014. Her work focuses on visual culture, art criticism, gender and sexuality, as well as psychoanalysis and the abject. Her dissertation centers on the abject in application to Pop Surrealism, an emergent art movement, and designer vinyl toys. She is a practicing interdisciplinary artist and teaches across Art Education, Gender and Women’s studies, and Asian American studies. Livingston is Hip Hop and Punk Feminism's graduate jill-of-all-trades, and a member of the Art Eddies.