Racing/ Engendering Bodies

Racing/Engendering Bodies

Chairs: Cyraina Johnson-Roullier (Associate Professor, English, University of Notre Dame); Karen Richman (Anthropology, Research Professor, Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame); Meg Harper, (Associate Professor, English, Georgia State University)


This work group will explore the relation between representation and the black diasporic, Latin American diasporic (including the Caribbean), multiracial and/or gendered body in the Americas, as well the significance of these bodies in the juncture between New and Old Worlds.  Highlighting the importance of history by embracing interpretations of these bodies from the 15th century to the present, this group will consider the role of representation in creating particular understandings of blackness, race, “otherness,” and/or gender.  Some of the contexts the group will consider might be the role of the black and gendered body in the development of rape/lynch mythology in the United States; the clash between gender and the black body within the discourse of Pan-Africanism;  the liberation of the black body in 19th century Haiti.  The group might also explore articulations of métissage in relation to those of mestizaje, as well as political, social and artistic movements centered on the black and/or Latin American diasporic, multiracial or gendered body as the central organizing force.  In considering these disparate notions of racialized, othered and/or gendered bodies, the Group will seek to understand not only the material reality of these bodies, but how they have been imagined, and what role those imagined realities can and have historically played when considering these bodies in relation to questions of citizenship, community, and political and social participation.


Cyraina Johnson-Roullier is the Program Director for the Americas and Global Cultures in the Institute for Latino Studies, Fellows of the Institute for Latino Studies, and member of the Execcutive Council of the International American Studies Association.                

Meg Harper is Professor of English and Women's Studies at Georgia State University. She specializes in twentieth-and-twenty-first-century poetry in English, Irish literature, and modernisms.