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Legacy, Leverage, and Political Leadership: Black Women's Activism and Building Collective Futures

Black women religious, civic, and political leaders have led extraordinary lives and had an incredible impact on the lives of black people, indigenous, and numerous people globally. From the earliest leadership of postbellum activism of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman to the twentieth-century activism of Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Daisy Bates, Hon. Barbara Jordan and Angela Davis black women have galvanized hundreds of persons to fight for justice. Twentieth-century political leaders, Senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL), Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), and current leaders including Vice President Kamala Harris, Congressional Representatives Maxine Waters, and Barbara Lee, Attorney Stacey Abrams, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are courageous, charismatic trailblazers who have changed the political trajectory of these United States. Organizers like philanthropist Latosha Brown and Minister of Justice Traci Blackmon have stood their ground, protested, and collaborated with groups reflected in #BLM, The Five, Fair Vote/Fight, and Georgia Blue. Of note, HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] played a major role in both their education and conscience-raising. This session invites papers on the following: the impact and leverage of black woman’s civic leadership using social media and community organizing; black women’s engagement of public policy and political leadership with voting as a social justice issue; the legacy of black women’s leadership in education, religion, and public health (COVID-19).

Women Still Run This Thing! Hip Hop, Womanism, and Collective Meaning-Making

Far too often the hypermasculine male is the trope that commercial Hip Hop puts out as “Hip Hop.” As scholars in the field of Hip Hop Studies and Womanist Thought, we know this is not true. Women play an influential role in Hip Hop Culture; principally as it pertains to the social constructs of sexual orientation, gender constructs, race, and social issues. This year, we invite papers for a co-sponsorship between the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society and Critical Approaches Religion and Hip Hop. Topics can include, but certainly not limited to:

· Hip Hop womanism
· Hood womanism
· Verzus and Cancel Culture
· Meg Thee Stallion and #ProtectBlackWomen
· Hip Hop of the South
· WAP and politics of sexuality (Cardi B, Meg Thee Stallion)
· Women in Hip Hop & their historical contributions (Missy Elliott, Nikki Minaj, No Name, Rhapsody, etc.)
· Women & their role in activism & politics within the hip hop culture
· The construct of “male sponsorship” for entry into rap music
· Does rap music hate women?
· The gendered & social discourse of “Bitch”
· Hip Hop & #MeToo
· Women in Hip Hop & Digital Technocultures

Open Call. We welcome any and all proposals that are not specifically mentioned in the call for papers and we are specifically interested in topics and theoretical insights from outside North America.

Mission Statement:

This Unit provides a forum for religious scholarship that engages theoretically and methodologically the four-part definition of a Womanist as defined by Alice Walker. We nurture interdisciplinary scholarship, encourage interfaith dialogue, and seek to engage scholars and practitioners in fields outside the study of religion. We are particularly concerned with fostering scholarship that bridges theory and practice and addresses issues of public policy in church and society.

Method of Submission:

INSPIRE, E-mail without Attachment (proposal appears in body of e-mail)



Melanie Jones, melaniechantejones@gmail.com

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, drcherylkd@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Teresa L. Fry Brown, rev_drt@bellsouth.net

Candace M. Laughinghouse, mrslaughinghouse@yahoo.com

Valerie Miles-Tribble, macsvmt@gmail.com

AnneMarie Mingo, amingo@psu.edu

Nichole Phillips, nichole.r.phillips@emory.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2021