2018 Two Icons Lecture

#HappinessIsPolitical: Black Women, Diasporic Heart, and the Journey of Emotional Wellness

Thursday, September 20, 2018
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Welles-Brown Room


Join SBAI and the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies for our Two Icons Lecture, an annual talk focusing on intersections of race and gender. The event is free and open to the public.


This year we will be joined by Bianca Williams, a black feminist cultural anthropologist focusing on topics related to race, gender, and activism, including black feminist leadership and pedagogy, most recently in the Black Lives Matter movement. Williams is Associate Professor of Anthropology at CUNY.

The talk will be followed by a reception with refreshments, and Williams' book, "The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism" (Duke University Press, 2018), will be available for purchase. Free parking is available in Library Lot. 


About the lecture:
In recent years, the Movement for Black Lives has elevated Audre Lorde’s notion that self-care is a political act, pushing us to have a national conversation about effective strategies for maintaining emotional wellness in the context of white supremacy and patriarchy. The discussion is one Black feminists have been engaging for generations, attempting to find ways to be well, and remain well, despite the disproportionate amount of emotional labor Black women are expected to provide in organizing spaces, their households, neighborhoods, and on their jobs. This Two Icons Lecture focuses on a group of African American tourist women who repeatedly travel to Jamaica in order to pursue happiness and diasporic belonging, while seeking to escape U.S.-based racism. Using data from ethnographic research in the U.S., Jamaica, and an online community, I ask, “What insights do we gain about race, gender, and power within African diasporic relationships if we center Black women’s affective lives? What do we learn about race and gender if we consider Black women’s pursuit of happiness as a political project?”