Feminism on Campus

Sheesh – tough topic this week.

I don’t know of very many specifically “Black” feminist events and efforts happening on campus. Because I’m a working student, I don’t have very much time to participate in some of the feminist events that we do have, so I get most of my exposure to feminism through the internet and the classroom. Trust me, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.


Last semester, I sat in on a graduate poetry class led by Dr. P. I’d say it’s safe to call her a Black feminist ally – she works hard to bring attention to the works of Black poets in her classroom and in her work as an academic. She reawakened my love of poetry, both inside and outside of the canon. Her efforts exposed me and my fellow students to the works of Elizabeth Alexander (who wrote The Venus Hottentot and performed a poem at President Obama’s first inauguration) and Wanda Coleman. Reading them reminded me of the ways in which Black creative artists expose us to the plight of Black women in this country – historically and presently. Their work goes beyond the scope of issues of oppression, but Dr. P’s steadfast efforts to bring exposure to their work fits squarely in line with much of what we talk about in the classroom. She exposes her students to the voices of Black women in her classrooms. When we consider the discussions we’ve had about suppression of Black feminists, Black intellectuals and Black women in general – Dr. P’s work should not go unnoticed.


Beyond the classroom, I know that students routinely attempt to bring awareness to issues that directly affect women’s lives. After the sexual assault that occurred on campus last semester, some students organized a rally/protest to campaign for a great police and security presence on campus during the evening hours. Their efforts did not go unnoticed – I’ve seen more police on campus this semester than I’ve ever seen in my short time here.


There are women all over our campus that challenge patriarchal systems every day, whether they recognize it or not. We work – they told us we couldn’t. We study – they told us that we were “intellectually inferior.” And some of us do both while raising children. We challenge assumptions made about us as women, as Black women, as mothers and (at least in my case) poor working students. There are always feminist efforts occurring on campus, both large and small, some behind the scenes, some out at the forefront. Regardless of visibility, those efforts are important and they chisel away at patriarchal power every day. 


~ by Kristen on February 15, 2013.

One Response to “Feminism on Campus”

  1. Like you I don’t know of any African American feminist activism on campus, and it’s shocking. Even though blacks are of minority here I believe that there should be some awareness! Also, I really like the fact that you brought up the sexual assault that happened last semester because it’s something people think of in the moment but then forget, as I did. Oops! But yes, I agree with you that their efforts were definitely heard because there is A LOT of new police officers here on campus, or either I just never seen them before do to the lack of them doing their jobs last semester!

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