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The Newsletter of the Association of Black Sociologists

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The Griot
In this Issue
The Return of an ABS Journal
By Sandra Barnes & BarBara Scott By Sandra Barnes

February 2010

ABS Executive Committee

President Regina Dixon Reeves President-Elect Sandra Barnes Vanderbilt University Immediate Past President Judith Rollins Wellesley College Treasurer Wanda Morgan West Chicago Public Schools Secretary Marilyn Vital Methodist College Member-at-Large Earl Wright II Texas Southern University Member-at-Large Cynthia Cook Florida A & M University Membership Chair Anthony Lemelle John Jay College CUNY Publications Chair BarBara M. Scott Northeastern Illinois University Executive Officer Evita G. Bynum University of Maryland Eastern Shore Student Representative Zandria Robinson Northwestern University



Update on the 2010 ABS Conference Rethinking Community, Empowerment and the Horizons of Sociological Inquiry:
A Conversation with Patricia Hill Collins



The Sociologist as Intellectual Activist

Reflections on Patricia Hill Collins By Elizabeth Higginbotham, Aldon Morris, Giovanni Dortch, Joe Feagin, and Jessica Guillon


The Crisis in Haiti

Global Capitalism and Devastation in Haiti By Tanya Maria Golash-Boza The ABS Haitian Relief Fund By Regina Dixon-Reeves


A Witness to Lived, Black History

Remembering the Photographer and Artist, Roy DeCarava By Arthur Paris


Domestic Violence and Women of Color

By Cynthia Cook

Book Reviews
Revisiting Racism Without Racists: Review of Leading for Equity By Jessica Ayo Alabi Technological and Social Dimensions of Illness in the 21st Century: Review of A Life Worth Living By Felice Jones-Lee Gendered Violence and Black Youth: Review of Getting Played By Stacey N. Washington The Racial Construction of Dominicanidad: Review of Behind the Ears By Jacqueline Smith -26-27-28-30-34-

Member News

The Return of an ABS Journal

Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Society
By Sandra Barnes and BarBara Scott

The Association of Black Sociologists (ABS) previously sponsored a flagship journal. However, in recent years, it has been without this common avenue of intellectual and informational exchange. However, things are changing! Plans have begun to reconstitute and reintroduce an official ABS journal. This process has been initiated under the leadership of the President-Elect, Sandra Barnes, and BarBara M. Scott, Chairperson of the Publications Committee. The journal, tentatively titled Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Society: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal, will serve as an apparatus to advance the ABS mandate as a national, professional organization of sociologists, social scientists, and social and political activists founded by women and men of African descent. The Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, which shares the mission and goals of ABS, has agreed to house the journal and provide a number of resources to support its publication. One of ABS missions is to build a tradition of scholarship that will serve Black communities throughout the Diaspora and global communities of color. Our approach is a collaborative one which allows us to: build bridges and forge links with colleagues locally, nationally, and internationally; find

solutions to problems; and, support effective programs and policies in our communities. Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Society will serve as an important apparatus to complete our mission. The peer-reviewed journal will provide current research on race, racialization, and related issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. This will be a venue that contests the norms of traditional research and scholarship on race, ethnicity, stratification, inequalities, and social justice, the goal of which is to provide a forum for the best scholarship and creative research on these topics in US and global contexts. Recognizing that subjects such as race, ethnicity, racism, post-racial society, identity, nationalism, and transnationalism are increasingly contested, the purpose of the journal is to develop a forum in which scholars and others can engage the complexity of these debates in research and creative writings from across racial, ethnic, local, national and international boundaries as well as across disciplinary boundaries within the academy. The journal will include; major articles and theoretical pieces, research reports, book reviews, and essays. Additional information will be provided as the Publications Committee completes the organizational process. The return of an ABS journal represents one of a variety of exciting new endeavors and programs on the horizon for our great organization.


40th Annual Conference Pre-Registration Form


IMPORTANT! All program participants must pre-register by May 1st 2010 in order to have their names listed in the final program. Program participant registrant fees are nonrefundable. All program participants must be registered and be ABS members.**
NAME (as you want it to appear on the badge) _________________________________________________________ AFFILIATION (as you want it to appear on the badge) ___________________________________________________ STREET ADDRESS 1 __________________________________________________________________________ STREET ADDRESS 2 __________________________________________________________________________ CITY ___________________________ STATE _________________________ POSTAL CODE _______________ PROVINCE/COUNTY (if other than the US) ___________________________________________________________ WORK PHONE ________________ HOME PHONE ________________ MOBILE PHONE ____________________ EMAIL ______________________________________ FAX _________________________________________

Deadline May 1st 2010

Pre-Registration* __ __ __ __ $185 $250 $120 $90

After May 1st 2010

Registration* __ $250 __ $365 __ $185 __ $100

On-Site Registration* __ $315 __ $380 __ $250 __ $110

Check here if you require vegetarian (must be selected prior to July 1st 2010)

Member Non-Member Student Extra Luncheon Ticket

Presenter/Organizer? YES/NO

Note: All AV needs must be pre-paid by presenters . Contact the executive office for details.

*Conference registration includes the Joseph S. Himes Awards Luncheon. **Membership forms can be completed on or downloaded from the ABS website,



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Please complete credit card information to the right OR make your check(s) or money order(s) payable to the Association of Black Sociologists. Print this form and mail it along with your payment to the address below. Payments by credit card may also be faxed to 202-403-3424. Association of Black Sociologists, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW, PMB 106-257, Washington, D.C. 20016-2143


2010 Membership Form

Membership Effective January 1 through December 31, 2010

New Member


CHANGE MY DATABASE INFORMATION EXCLUDE MY INFORMATION FROM THE MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY LAST NAME _______________________________ FIRST NAME ______________________________ STREET __________________________________________________________________________ CITY _________ STATE ____ POSTAL CODE _______ PROVINCE/COUNTY (if outside US) _______________ WORK PHONE ____________ HOME PHONE ____________ CELL ___________ FAX _____________ EMAIL ____________________________________________________________________________ HIGHEST DEGREE RECEIVED ____ YEAR AWARDED _____ AWARDING INSTITUTION _______________ CURRENT WORK/INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATION _____________________________________________ SPECIALIZATION AREA 1 ______________________ SPECIALIZATION AREA 2 ____________________ SPECIALIZATION AREA 3 ______________________ FULL MEMBER
May hold elected office

Non-Sociology degree, may not hold elected office

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Contribute to ASA Minority Fellowship Fund


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Please make your check(s) or money order(s) payable to the Association of Black Sociologists or complete the credit card information to the right. Print form and mail it along with your payment to MEMBERSHIP Association of Black Sociologists 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW, PMB 106-257 Washington, D.C. 20016-2143
Credit Card Type (check one): __ Visa __ Master Card __ Am Ex __ Discover

Cardholder Name: ________________________________________________ Credit Card Number: _____________________ Expiration Date _____________ Signature _______________________________________________________
If payment is via credit card, you may FAX form to 202-403-3424

The 2010 ABS Conference

Community Action Component!
Atlanta, Georgia August 11-14, 2010

consider taking part in one of several scheduled community service events. ABS has a long history of engaging in local community service projects during our conferences. The ABS is slated to provide twenty volunteers at a local historic soup kitchen from 7:00- 9:30 am on Saturday, August 14, 2010. Participants will have time to return to the hotel for the closing plenary. A second opportunity for social activism will be available after the closing plenary. For additional information or suggestions for other community outreach events, contact Sandra Barnes at As you prepare for the conference, dont forget to pay your ABS dues and pre-register! More to come Dr. Sandra L. Barnes ABS President Elect 2010 Program Chair

I would like to thank each of you for the overwhelming response to the 2010 call out. We have received a myriad of exciting, cutting-edge abstracts for panels, presentations and roundtables. The theme, Re-Positioning Race through Prophetic Research, Teaching, and Service, has fostered excitement and inquiry. Thanks to your support, proactive submissions, and suggestions, the Program Committee is well on its way to organizing a conference few will forget. I informed you about the accomplished opening and closing plenary speakers in the previous edition of The Griot. They include (opening plenary panelists in alphabetical order): Drs. Elijah Anderson, Patricia Hill Collins, and James Conyers, Eduardo Bonilla Silva, and William Julius Wilson. Closing plenary panelists will be: Drs. Joe Feagin, Charles Gallagher, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, and Aldon Morris (in alphabetical order). Moreover, other speakers from sociology, history, African American Studies, and Modern Foreign Languages will be featured. In light of our 40th anniversary, several special sessions featuring past ABS Presidents will take place. In addition to being intellectually challenging, I am asking that each of you

Rethinking Community, Empowerment and the Horizons of Sociological Inquiry

A Conversation with Patricia Hill Collins
The November 2008 issue of The Griot featured an article by James Blackwell titled The Founding of the Association of Black Sociologists which provided a very insightful account of the socio-political context within the American Sociological Associationand the wider societythat led to the creation of the ABS. As Professor Blackwell explained, the ABS was a direct response to the institutional and systemic discrimination [that] prevailed in all aspects of the American social structure. The following interview engages many of the same issues that Professor Blackwell documented in his article, but from a different historical and institutional vantage point. In Spring 2008, Patricia Hill Collins became the first African American woman to serve as President of the American Sociological Association (ASA). This event raises questions about the complexities of race, class and gender in the US today that are not much different from the debates that have swirled around the Obama Presidency. In many respects, Professor Collins Presidency is a testament to the tireless efforts of the ABS and other sociological associations that have sought to diversify the upper ranks of the ASA. But it also raises a host of new questions concerning the current and future mission of the ABS and the unfolding relationship between the mainstreams of the discipline and the currents of sociological inquiry that gave rise to what we now call race/class/gender studies or intersectionality theory.

In the following interview, Professor Collins reflects on these issues from the vantage point of her role as the 2008-2009 ASA President and also from the vantage point of the body of critical theoryand especially Black feminist analysisthat she helped to create. This interview is presented to The Griot readership in the hopes of initiating a much longer conversation that can be continued over the next several issues of the newsletter (and the readers should note that this interview will be published in two parts that span the February and June editions of The Griot). One thing that comes across strongly in Professor Collins commentary is that this is not a time for complacency. She encourages the ABS to play an even more prominent role in expanding the scope and aims of sociological inquiry. Among other things, this challenge requires all ABS members to critically engage and rethink the process of knowledge production, the meaning of community and the politics (and process) of empowerment. But having acknowledged this, The Griot is also using this edition as an opportunity to reflect on the many ways that Patricia Hill Collins has influenced social theory and sociological practice. Sociologists can be very modest about their accomplishmentsespecially since their work is often motivated by an obligation to address issues of concern for the broader society that transcend ones immediate self-interest. So the practice of acknowledging and honoring scholars who have made important contributions is something that is, perhaps, not done as often as it should. This is why the editorial team of The Griot thought it was especially important to run against the grain and consider how the work and accomplishments of Patricia Hill Collins have enriched the field of sociologyacross many different dimensions. We asked several senior and junior scholars to reflect on this subject, and they were gracious enough to honor this request. In different ways, each of these reflections resonate with the ideas that Professor Collins develops in her interview. We hope that The Griots conversation with Professor Collins, and the reflective essays

that follow, will encourage the reader to think about how the role of the ABS and the horizons of sociological inquiry should be transformed, to address the challenges that lie ahead.

represent the diversity of people and perspectives who are now included in sociology. The disciplinary and professional associations have made real strides. If you look at sociologys professional associations in the USASA, SSSP [Society for the Study of Social Problems], the regional associations, ABS, SWS [Society for Women Sociologists]many of these organizations, if not all of them, are making concerted efforts to be inclusive and diverse. Sociology is not alone. In 2009, I attended a summit titled Madam President: Summit on Women of Color, Leadership and the Learned Societies. Sociology is in good companythe American Studies Association, African Studies Association, American Political Science Association, Organization of American Historians, and the National Womens Studies Association to name a few had all elected women of color as presidents. Based on these experiences, I dont see the exclusionary practices of ASA or other professional associations as being the primary problem any more. I think impacting ASA has been far easier over the past thirty years than changing the institutional structures of higher education. That to me is the new battleground. The Griot: What role do you think the ABS could play in this broader process of opening up more space in the institutions themselves? Patricia Hill Collins: I see it as a two pronged process. The first is to work to change knowledge about race. The other thing that organizations like ABS can do is to try to change the patterns of participation in all of the institutions that shape knowledge, not just schools. Its important to remember that ABS was not founded to get a few Black people some jobs. Instead, it wanted to transform knowledge about race in America, initially, and race globally, in ways that empower Black people. We certainly should continue

The Griot: Do you think the ASA has been successful in dismantling the barriers for Black sociologists and other minority scholars which led originally to the creation of the ABS? Patricia Hill Collins: I think that the way to approach this question is to recognize that were in a new racial period and that we need to figure out what that means for organizations like ABS. The racial formation when ABS was formed was one of strict segregation. So the solution to segregation that excluded people was to develop strategies that included them. Anti-racist projects could follow a simple formula: there are barriers, remove the barriers, recruit and let people in. That is pretty much the philosophy that has been followed fairly consistently for the past thirty years. This certainly was central to the formation of ABS. So if you look at Blacks, women and similar groups that were historically excluded, the battle has been to get them included. In some areas these inclusionary strategies have been more successful than in others. But while programs to increase participation should continue, I dont think that dealing with exclusion is the major issue anymore. I think the major issue now concerns the terms of our participation once we are included. ASA provides a good example of this. I have just finished a year as president of ASA. Based on the trajectory of past presidents, I was a very unlikely presidential candidate. I didnt come straight through an elite school; I wasnt even working in a Sociology department for quite some time, and the substance of my scholarship was not highly valued within elite segments of the profession. In many ways, my experiences

A Conversation with Patricia Hill Collins

Continued from previous page to do what weve been doing in our disciplinary associations, in terms of the programs that are in place. But because racial knowledge is very much created in the academy and also in the media, we have to look to other institutional locations if we want to produce the kinds of outcomes that I think ABS wanted initially. We have to develop new ways of opening spaces for one another. This is different than just looking at the barriers of the professional associations from the outside. Its really about creating new spaces so we can get more ideas on the table. Because if were not doing this were just going to continue recycling the old debates that have been around for quite some time. I think that there are many great up-andcoming young scholars who have new and innovative ideas about race. But they are less heard than people like me. If youre a faculty member in a community college, and youre a sociologist, and youre Black and have got great ideas, and youre working with people everyday, then you see how things operate. Its going to be far more difficult for you to be heard in a broader context around issues of race than if you are a professor at a top institution and youre African American, but you may know far less about the everyday realities of race than that person in the community college. This example suggests that we need to look at the structures of higher education and realize that certain questions dont even become questions because of who is raising them and where they are located. ABS could do a real service here by identifying talent and making sure that the ideas of everyone who cares about a better society is heard. All around us students and young professionals point out how they live in a different world than the world of the Civil Rights movement; than the world of

the Black Power movement; than just living in the US. We have to come up with another way of talking about how race is organized and how racism is organized. I would like to see organizations like ABS be on the front end of that. I would not turn my back on the traditional advocacy function for membership in terms of their career development, but I would really like to see some intellectual leadership come from the association in terms of the big ideas that we ought to be discussing as a society and hopefully creating some space for that to be discussed.

Im certainly concerned about women and Ive written a lot about feminism but I really think that the major action now is around youth.

The Griot: What youve just said really sets the stage for the next question, which is what kinds of issues do you think Black sociologists or anyone interested in critical race theory should be addressing today? Patricia Hill Collins: I think we definitely need to shift gears to questions of economic opportunity and economic capacity. Yet this shift does not mean that there is no need to keep Black people central to economic analyses. I happen to believe that when things work for Black people they tend to work for everybody a lot better. Blacks are not a special case, an exception to the rule of normality for everyone else. Instead, Blacks are like the canary in the mine, the Miners Canarythat book by Guinier and Torres. Were on the front line. Negative things that affect other people tend to affect Black people a little earlier and often more harshly. Positive things may be Continued on page 31

The Sociologist as Intellectual Activist Reflections on Patricia Hill Collins

A New Perspective with Patricia Hill Collins

By Elizabeth Higginbotham, University of Delaware
This article was originally published in the September/October 2008 edition of Footnotes to commemorate Patricia Hill Collins term as ASA President.

Patricia Hill was born in Philadelphia in 1948, the only child to Eunice Randolph Hill and Albert Hill. Her father was a [World War II] veteran who met her mother in Washington, DC, where she had migrated to during the war to work. Pat is part of a cohort of working-class youth who had educational opportunities long denied their parents. During the 1950s and 1960s, most northern cities had public schools that were channels for social mobility. Schools were well funded, but navigating them was not easy. Pat was a quiet, but diligent, student in Philadelphia. Her education there was a stepping stone to Brandeis University. Writing in Black Feminist Thought, she said that, contrary to the support she had in the Black workingclass community, the spaces she was desegregating were less welcoming. Entering Brandeis in 1965, Pat used her time to reclaim that voice. Migrating from Philadelphia to the Boston area meant moving into new communities where one can see how others lived, what they assume, and their agendas. Majoring in sociology, which offered the freedom to shape her own pursuits, Patricia received her BA in 1969. After college, she secured an MAT in Social Science Education at Harvard University in 1970. As a teacher, she was very involved in curriculum development at St. Josephs School, a diverse communitybased school in Roxbury. She participated in many of the progressive educational developments regarding inner city schooling. From 1976-1980, she was the Director of the African American Center at

Tufts University, involved with many initiatives in programming and staffing. While working at Tufts, she met and married Roger Collins in 1977 and gave birth to their daughter Valerie in 1979. In 1980, she returned to Brandeis to pursue a doctorate in sociology. She was an ASA Minority Fellow and the recipient of a Sydney Spivack Dissertation Support Award. In 1982, the Collins family relocated to Cincinnati, where Roger taught in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati. Patricia joined him at that institution in the Department of African American Studies. This department would be her home base for 23 years where she also served as Chair from 1999-2002. Working in African American Studies gave Patricia the intellectual space to question the boxes that people generally use to frame issues within disciplinary fields. She also developed links between Womens Studies and Sociology, where in 1996 she became the Charles Phelps Taft Distinguished Professor of Sociology, now Emeritus. In 2005, Patricia Hill Collins joined the University of Maryland where she was the Wilson Elkins Professor of Sociology 20052006 and is currently Distinguished University Professor. Many people learned about Patricia Hill Collins when her groundbreaking article, "Learning from the Outsider Within," was published in Social Problems in 1986. The article articulated a standpoint reflecting her race, gender, and social class location as she moved across and within various institutions. A consistent theme in Collinss work is how she questions the traditional framing of issues. When I met her at a curriculum integration workshop in 1985, she spoke about how the national framing of "the Black family" as a problem was problematic because it neglected an understanding of families within the wider context of oppression and resistance. She talked with us about how many of her students entered classrooms believing these Continued next page

The Sociologist as Intellectual Activist Reflections on Patricia Hill

A New Perspective with Patricia Hill Collins

Continued from previous page myths. Teaching students to think differently was a challenge, but she thought the key was to provide students with a framework that integrated broader social forces into an understanding of the tasks and resources of any family. In 1990 Collins published Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, which won ASAs Jessie Bernard Award, the SSSP C. Wright Mills Award, and garnered other awards from the Association of Women in Psychology and Black Women Historians. Collins has pushed scholars to identify the ground on which they stand, rather than claiming neutral space. Black Feminist Thought clearly identifies an intersectional analysis, rather than a hierarchical formula where race is primary over gender or where social class trumps all. Her theoretical analysis shows how oppression operates in various spherespolitical, economic, and ideological. Thus, although we can appreciate that social class may offer some protection or resources to battle the sexism and racism that Black women experience, achieving middle class status does not remove one from the political, economic, and ideological operations. Most importantly, Black Feminist Thought illuminated how Black women have looked at and analyzed their lives in the past challenging the sociological thinking that rendered them invisible. The clarity of her discussion of power, including how oppressed people understand the power that engulfs them and develop alternative self-definitions of themselves and their situations, has turned the tide of theoretical analysis. In 2000, Collins published the 10th anniversary edition of Black Feminist Thought, incorporating new work and more

forcefully sharing with readers the idea that people who lack power have a viewpoint very different from the master narrative. She also incorporated a more comprehensive analysis of sexuality in her intersectional analysis and took a more international perspective. Between the two editions of Black Feminist Thought Pat published Fighting Words: Black Women and the Struggle for Justice (1998) tracking her thinking about empowerment and social justice. An important collaboration for Collins is her work with Margaret L. Andersen. The two developed Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology. This pioneering volume, first published in 1992, has been a critical teaching tool for an intersectional analysis. Its various editions showcase new scholarship, but the thoughtful introductory essays have also been critical in teaching faculty and students a framework for understanding intersecting inequalities. In Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism (2004) Collins has more fully integrated sexuality in to her analysis and we see the importance of looking across borders to view racism on a global scale. In this exploration of the historical and contemporary circumstances of African American men and women, she brings a wealth of material from history, empirical research, cultural studies, and keen observations of social, cultural, and political events. Shards of the old racism of segregation and exclusion are part of the racism of the 21st century, as the legacy impacts intergenerational mobility or lack of it. However, the increased concentration of wealth and power has a global reach influencing the images and options of racialized and gendered bodies. This book earned the 2007 ASA Distinguished Publication Award. Patricia Hill Collins trajectory of scholarship has been attentive to community building and institutional change on other fronts, as well. A long-time resident of Cincinnati, Collins was involved with community groups that support educational and cultural programs for girls and women. As a former ASA Minority Fellowship recipient, she has served on the


ASA committee that oversees that program, two years as chair (1985-88), as well as the ASA Task Force (1989-93) that first created the Minority Opportunity Summer Training (MOST).

A Tribute to an Historic Presidency and Scholarly Inclusion

By Aldon Morris, Northwestern University A century is a long time. But that is exactly how long it took for Patricia Hill Collins to become the first Black woman president of the American Sociological Association (ASA). When placed in historical context, Collins historic achievement takes on greater significance. It took forty two years (1948) for the first Black male sociologistE. Franklin Frazierto become president of ASA. It would then take another forty two years (1990) before another Black maleWilliam J. Wilsonwould assume ASAs presidency. It took forty six years (1952) for the first womanDorothy Swaine Thomasto become the first woman president of ASA. Another womanMirra Komarovsky would not serve in this capacity until twenty one years later (1973). Thus, when race and gender are considered, the Black woman had to wait far longer than Black males or white women to serve as president of ASA. Of course, throughout ASAs history, white men have dominated ASAs presidency both numerically and chronologically. Race and gender combined to determine when and where a Black woman would enter the highest point in ASAs prestige ladder. In fact, until 1968 the ASA was virtually an all white professional association. Between 1965 and 1968 only seven Blacks served on ASAs committees which numbered approximately thirty three per year. None of the committees were chaired by an African American. Prior to 1968, it was a rarity indeed to find a single Black person serving on an ASA panel or

session at the annual meetings (Blackwell and Janowitz, 1974). In the larger profession during this period, the small number of Black sociologists holding doctorates was approximately one hundred and sixty. Black women only constituted about fifteen percent of those Black sociologists. In a 1974 study of Black women sociologists, Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson, minced no words by arguing that the chief reason explaining this outcome was the persisting discriminating against black females precisely because they are both black and female (Jackson, 1974 p.267) .To be sure, in ASA and the larger discipline, Black women were almost invisible. The greatest loss this lack of participation produced was intellectual. The collective sociological imagination was impoverished because the unique insights embedded in Black womens lived experiences and structural standpoints could not make their way to the market place of ideas. The presence of Black sociologists has always made a difference in the content of sociological thought. For example, for most of the history of American sociology, white sociologists operated with the meta-theoretical assumption that Blacks were inferior and therefore lacked agency. They thought Blacks were forever doomed to their wretched conditions unless whites decided to act benevolently on their behalf. Yet it was W.E.B. DuBois, E. Franklin Frazier, Charles Johnson and other Black sociologists who challenged this Black inferiority thesis and peeled away the clouds hiding layers of Black agency. The Civil Rights Movement would confirm the accuracy of their analyses and erode a century of race relations research based on faulty analyses and racism. But much of this challenging intellectual work was conducted by Black males even though they were greatly assisted by Black women intellectuals such as Ida B. Wells and Zora Neale Hurston. Nevertheless, when Jackson asked Black sociologists, both male and female, who were the black sociologists who influenced them, they listed Frazier, DuBois, Johnson and Oliver Cox. Jackson concluded that


Continued on next page

The Sociologist as Intellectual Activist Reflections on Patricia Hill Collins

A Tribute to an Historic Presidency

Continued from previous page both black males and females did not list one Black female sociologist as being an influential intellectual mentor. This reality is furthered confirmed today given that no ASA awards are named for Black women. Moreover, we can only speculate about how richer our discipline would be if from the outset the ideas of Black women sociologists were at the core of the sociological enterprise. Patricia Hill Collins election as the one hundredth president of the ASA signals that perhaps the time has come for the sociology of Black women to more fully inform the discipline. Indeed, the intersectionality approach is one of the most refreshing and challenging mode of analysis found in contemporary sociology. Because of the lived experiences of Black women they were the ones to grasp that class, race and gender hierarchies are interlocking systems of oppressions and privileges. They were the scholars to articulate how multiple identities and structural configurations are not simply additive but mutually constitutive. Patricia Hill Collins is one of the major architects of this new valuable approach that is shedding new light on the human condition. So when Pat mounted the platform to give her presidential address she served as a role model to all scholars but especially for young women scholars of color who aspire to leave their mark on the discipline. But history was also made that day because her presence signaled that the discipline had finally matured such that it could now welcome the scholarship of those once regulated to the margins of the discipline. Race and gender had been unlocked at least enough to allow rays of new intellectual thought and energy to enrich the sociological enterprise. Congratulations to both Professor Collins and the ASA for making the history that had to wait in the wings for a century.

James Blackwell, 1974. Role Behavior in a Corporate Structure: Black Sociologists In the ASA in J. Blackwell and M. Janowitz, Black sociologists: Historical and contemporary Perspectives, University of Chicago. Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson, 1974. Black Female Sociologists, in Black sociologists: Historical and contemporary Perspectives, University of Chicago.

Freedom through Fighting Words

By Giovanni Dortch, Ph.D. Candidate, University of North Texas An interest in social inequality and gendered inequality first led me to the work of Black feminist scholars. I began seeking answers to this through the critical eye of the scholar and cultural critic bell hooks. Her works Killing Rage, and later Feminist Theory from Margin to Center led me to Patricia Hill Collins collection of essays, Black Feminist Thought. Armed with the critiques of hooks, and the ground work statements of Collins, I began to pursue the answers to my questions through more and more disciplines, seeking not only a theoretical perspective, but questioning both my own personal history and experiences, and the practice of being a Black Feminist Woman. As an academic and scholar, I quickly learned of the narrow confines in which Black women scholars labored as I entered a doctoral program in the field of sociology. While my graduate level Womens Studies program afforded me the luxury of immersion into theory from multiple standpoints of race, gender, class, sexuality, colonial status and other claimed identities, I quickly realized sociology had no such spaces for the self naming, self identifying peoples whose work was the staple of my Womens Studies experience. Continued on page 14


The Association of Black Sociologists is pleased to call for solicitations for its three professional achievement awards

Annually, the ABS gives an award to an ABS member for her or his career of outstanding scholarship. The purpose of the Joseph Himes Award for a Career of Distinguished Scholarship is to honor members of ABS who have worked over a lifetime career to achieve two goals: (1) to enhance the status of theory and research specifically related to the social condition of African Americans broadly in the context of a framework of sociological construction and (2) to recognize the contribution of the individual to the support and growth of the Association for Black Sociologists as an institution and an activist network of scholars and academicians. The individual should build on a rich history of African American scholarship and, at the same time, have distinguished him or herself as a unique contributor to some aspect of African American social organization and structure.

The A. Wade Smith Award for Teaching, Mentorship, and Service was established in 1998. Named in honor of A. Wade Smith, Ph.D., the award recognizes an ABS member for outstanding teaching, mentoring, and service. The A. Wade Smith Award was initiated to honor our beloved colleague and outstanding contributor to the sociology profession and to Black social thought, A. Wade Smith. The award recognizes the special and often unrecognized excellent performance in teaching and mentorship. It particularly targets members who have been dedicated and innovative teachers and those who have nurtured future scholars in the field. The award further acknowledges the crucial role played by many outstanding teachers in bringing young AfricanAmerican scholars into the trying and difficult world of academic achievement. Often lacking unavailable appropriate mentors and guides for their scholarship en route to under-graduate, graduate, and, particularly, Ph.D. degrees, unique dedicated individuals provide unusual support where there are few real rewards. This award recognizes this important, and invaluable, role and those who perform it well and with pride.

The James E. Blackwell Founders Award of the Association of Black Sociologists was established in 2002 with Dr. Blackwell as the initial recipient. This award will be given annually to a member of ABS in recognition of exemplary service to the organization, lifetime achievement, and sustained contributions for 20 or more years to scholarship, teaching, and professional service. Guidelines and Additional Information: Nominees for these 3 awards must have been a member in good standing (financial) for at least 2 years immediately prior to the award year. Additionally, nominees must be members in good standing within 2 weeks after the posted deadline. Failure to adhere to these stipulations disqualifies the nominee. The deadline for receipt of nomination and materials for these awards is April 1, 2010 Award recipients will be acknowledged during presentation at the Association of Black Sociologists' Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, August 11-14, 2010. Please direct any inquiries to: Dr. Alford A. Young, Jr., Awards Committee Chair


The Sociologist as Intellectual Activist Reflections on Patricia Hill Collins

Freedom through Fighting Words

Continued from page 12 The theory I examined as a doctoral student differed hemispherically from that of my independent readings, and my prior academic training. I immediately became disenchanted and disengaged with the theoretical canon of sociology, its founders (as they were presented by the University), and the failure of a practice to emerge from that canon. It was not until I made an effort to merge my feminist body of knowledge with the sociological canon that I was able to reconcile my relationship with sociology as a discipline and commit to moving forward. Collins exemplified my frustration when she explains in Fighting Words, Social theory can be used to support hierarchical power relations [however, more importantly] critical social theory can also challenge unjust ideas and practices. (xvi) Critical social theory, especially critical race theory and critical legal theory informs my own studies as a sociologist. Collins use of critical theory proved to be a useful guide, showing me how to connect my passion for feminism, Womanism and Africana Womanist studies to the critical standpoint in sociology, while simultaneously providing guidance for my future work. Collins use of critical theory prioritizes and grants authority to the Black womans voice in the world and academia, which is of utmost importance, as simply being a Black woman in the world is highly politicized and contested. Additionally, her explanation of justice being action based allows the tradition and practice of Black womens history to enter the modern era and become ever present. By presenting a framework for resistance in theory based on practice and applicable to new practices, Collins uses the feminist pedagogical model of reflexivity in a practical and grounded way, making her work accessible and

applicable to scholars, students and those outside of formal education networks. As an instructor and future professor, Collins work has served as both a foundation for my understanding of a feminism that was practical and useful to me as a Black Woman, and supported my growth through the challenges posed by the theoretical canon of sociology. As she explains in the chapter entitled On Race, Gender and Science: Black Women as Objects and Agents of Sociological Knowledge, Black women have engaged in a practice of addressing the academy, and using the tools of the academy to question the practices in society, oftentimes deconstructing both the academy and society. Black women question and dismantle the power relations that frame knowledge (xix). This is the same mindset in which I approach the sociological canon. I have come to an understanding that the traditional information presented is based in a specific frame, to control relations of power. With this understanding, I am able to reframe this information, critique it, facilitate my students critique of it, and in turn show them the power of critique, reflexivity, and re-creation. If nothing else, Collins work has provided a rich foundation and guidebook on how to merge my feminist/womanist/Africana Womanist principles and body of knowledge with the sociology classroom and impact the understanding and creation of theory while linking it to activism.
Patricia Hill Collins, 1998. Fighting Words : Black Women and the search for justice. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

The Practice of Liberation Sociology

By Joe Feagin, University of Florida Patricia Hill Collins is one of the great innovators in the field of US sociology, most especially in regard to honing what


Theorizing Motherhood
is probably the most influential blackfeminist theoretical framework in the social sciences. In her pathbreaking work like the omnipresent, Black Feminist Thought, she provides innovative critiques of negative stereotypes of black women, as in this famous quote: "Portraying African American women as stereotypical mammies, matriarchs, welfare recipients, and hot mommas has been essential to the political economy of domination fostering Black women's oppression." As she makes clear, these images are webbed deeply into the US fabric and rationalize much antiblack discrimination. She is also one of the first contemporary sociologists to insist on analyzing black resistance to institutional discrimination, including the role of black women as the backbone of the 1960s civil rights movement. In her provocative book Fighting Words Collins takes her critical arguments deeper in regard to social theory, with penetrating accents and insights like "Social theory in particular can serve either to reproduce existing power relations or to foster social and economic justice." Collins also accents moral foundations of social theory: "Because the search for justice has been central in African American women's history, I emphasize an ethical framework grounded in notions of justice as specific cultural material for exploring this more general question of moral authority for struggle." Rare among social scientists, we see the centrality of ideas of freedom and justice in her sociological perspective, a variant of what Hernan Vera and I term "liberation sociology." For her, "sociology's unique social location as a contested space of knowledge construction allows us to think through new ways of doing science." This is a very good position to be in, as a relatively young science. And she has been a leader in this new way, especially in increasing intellectual diversity in social science. By Jessica Smart Gullion, Ph.D, Texas Womens University
Jessica Smartt Gullions writings on motherhood have appeared in Mama PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life, The Journal of the Association of Research on Mothering, Literary Mama, and the Mothers Movement Online.

During my final year of graduate school, I became pregnant. To process the experience, I did what many budding PhDs doI intellectualized it. I dug through my shelves of social and feminist textbooks, searching for theories of motherhood and writings on navigating the terrain of the identity shift from non-mother to mother. I only found one. The spine was broken on my dogeared copy of Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought. I flipped through the pages and found what I was looking for: Motherhood flayed open as a serious area of inquiry. I inquired of feminist scholars in my network searching for more. We were all well versed in the complexities of identity, in understanding the overlapping influences of race and ethnicity, of gender and sexual orientation. But there was a piece missing. How did the transition to motherhood fit in the negotiation of identity? Many of the scholars we read had chosen to divorce women from their roles as mothers. For too long, women have been written of only in terms of childrearing. Women were much more. This presented a harsh contradiction i.e. the mother being tossed out with the baby and bathwater. How could such an important facet of half the earths population be discounted? We found no more leads. This was in 2001. Since that time, a wealth of writings on this topic has sprung forth. And writings that were lost, or negated in mainstream sociology, have been revisited. But it will always be Patricia Hill Collins who showed me, and women, that motherhood is a legitimate field of inquiry.


The Crisis in Haiti

Global Capitalism and Devastation in Haiti

By Tanya Golash-Boza
Dr. Golash-Boza is a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Awardee (2009-2010) and is a faculty member of the Sociology and American Studies Department at the University of Kansas. She blogs at and can be reached at This article originally appeared in Dissident Voice, January 18, 2010.1

people why this is happening to Haiti and what it means for the rest of us. You may critique this effort as opportunismusing the human tragedy for my own political purposes. To that charge, I say, this is the moment when people are interested in Haiti, so this is the time to tell the story of Haiti. This story is not unique to Haiti. The story of pillage and plunder and coups and the CIA is the story of much of the Third World. The story of global inequality is the story of capitalism. Except for, in Haiti, it goes back right to the beginning of capitalism.

The earthquake in Haiti has caused the whole world to spin around and look at the "poorest country in the Western Hemisphere." When we look, we see corpses, crying children, wounded mothers, desperate fathers, and other examples of human tragedy. What you see when you look at images of Haiti depends in large part on your perspective and knowledge of the country that shares an island with the Dominican Republic. For this reason, I think it is important to share my own perspective on what I observe when I see pictures of people desperate for a bucket of water or a bowl of rice. Many people say this is a time to act, not to speak. But, really, what can I do? I am in Santo Domingo, a few hours drive from Port-au-Prince, but I have no on-the-ground skills that would help people in Haiti. I can send supplies in the many caravans that leave Santo Domingo each day. I have done so, and will soon accompany a delegation traveling to Haiti to assist the Haitian NGO, Fondation Avenir. In the meantime, as a writer, I think the best I can do is to think about Haiti, write about Haiti, and tell

The constant interventions of the United States and Europe have kept Haiti a poor and tremendously unequal nation.

Haiti, led by revolutionary Touissant L'Ouverture, defeated France in a war for its independence in 1804making it the first non-slave republic in the Americas. After losing the war, the French demanded reparations from Haiti, to the tune of 150 million gold francs. This was eventually reduced to 90 million gold francsthe equivalent of over $20 billion current US dollars. Haiti agreed to pay the debt for French loss of "propertyincluding slavesin exchange for diplomatic recognition. Haiti did not finish paying this crippling debt until 1947. 2 Haiti provided more wealth to France than any of its other colonies prior to Haiti's independence. After independence the debt prevented Haiti Continued on page 18

See and'sDebt.pdf


ABS Announces Haitian Relief Fund

By ABS President, Regina Dixon-Reeves

The Association of Black Sociologists (ABS) expresses its deepest condolences for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation January 12, 2010. We weep for our sisters and brothers of the Diaspora who have been killed and displaced by this disaster. Our condolences also extend to members of our ABS family whose relatives and friends are personally impacted by this disaster. It is estimated that the 7.0 quake has killed upwards of 200,000 people and left more than 3 million others displaced. Haiti was already one of the worlds poorest countries with 80% of its population of 9 million residents living below the poverty threshold of two dollars a day. While the earthquake was a natural disaster, Haiti's fragile infrastructure and pervasive poverty which made the effects of the quake even more devastating - were not. Haitis economic struggles began after it became an independent republic in 1804 when Haitians mounted the worlds only successful slave revolt and France demanded reparations to compensate for its loss of property (including slaves). These compensatory payments lasted well into the 1940s. The countrys economy was further exploited by a twenty year occupation by the American military (1915-1934) and the US's subsequent backing of corrupt dictators. Haiti has experienced "two centuries of destabilization," as African-American columnist Derrick Jackson recently wrote.

The Association of Black Sociologists strongly supports not only the rebuilding of Haiti, but also the ensuring of a just US foreign policy toward Haiti. As a professional membership organization comprised predominately of the descendants of enslaved Africans, we the members of ABS, express not only profound sympathy and solidarity with our Haitian neighbors, but long-term financial support. In keeping with our mission and commitment to our communities, the Association of Black Sociologists asks all ABS members and other interested parties to contribute to a special fund the Haitian Relief Fundearmarked to help Haitians rebuild their country from scratch. Please show solidarity and support of our Haitian sisters and brothers by giving your generous tax deductible donation. A donation link for the fund will be incorporated into the ABS website in the near future. In the meantime, you can mail a check or money order to: Association of Black Sociologists 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW PMB 106-257 Washington, D.C. 20016. Please indicate in the memo section of your check that the donation is being made for the Haitian Relief Fund. We will also revise our conference registration forms to include a place for you to make a contribution to the Haitian Relief Fund when you register for future ABS annual conferences. Thank you in advance for your gift!


Global Capitalism and Devastation in Haiti

Continued from page 16 from gaining a solid economic footing; in some years, 80% of government revenue went to paying the debt. Throughout the 19th century, the United States and the rest of the Americas kept a close eye on Haiti, doing what they could to prevent any of the other nations and colonies from experiencing a major slave revolt. The specter of Haiti sent fear through the hearts of plantation owners throughout the Western Hemisphere. Twentieth century Haitian history is marked by US interventions, occupations, and interference. Haiti was occupied by the United States military from 1915 to 1934. From 1957 to 1971, Haiti was ruled by "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a brutal dictator who was backed by the United States because of his anti-communist stance. When "Papa Doc" passed away, his son, "Baby Doc" became President. He ruled Haiti under the same reign of terror until he was finally overthrown in 1986. The Papa/Baby Doc regime left Haiti with a crippling foreign debt. The external debt multiplied 17 times under this reign of terror, with little if any benefits to the Haitian people. The Duvalier family, in contrast, was able to accumulate millions of dollars for their personal benefit.3 In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected by the Haitian peoplethe first democratically elected president of Haiti. Eight months later, he was ousted in an effort orchestrated by the CIA. In a twist of events, US-backed forces restored Aristide to power in 1994, and the US military occupied Haiti from 1994 to 2000. Haiti was occupied again by US and UN forces in 2004. UN forces continue to

occupy Haiti to this day.4 The constant influence and interventions of the US and Europe have kept Haiti a poor and tremendously unequal nation. A 7.0 earthquake is a horrible event whenever it strikes on or near a land mass. However, the proportions of the disaster were much greater in Haiti because of its poverty. Over twenty years ago, in 1989, a 7.0 earthquake struck the Bay Area

The story of Haitia nation that broke the rules from the beginning by standing on its own two feetis the story of how global capitalism works to keep most people in poverty.
in Northern California. In that quake, 63 people were killed. In Haiti, the Red Cross estimates that as many as 200,000 people have died in Haiti. Poverty exacerbates natural disasters for many reasons. Some of these reasons are the poor structures people inhabit, overpopulation in urban areas, deforestation, and a lack of an adequate infrastructure. When "Baby Doc" was in power in Haiti, the Haitian business community and the United States developed a plan to implement neoliberal reforms that would take Haitians out of rural poverty and into the modern world. As a "modern" nation, Haiti could take advantage of its location close to the United States and supply cheap consumer goods to its wealthier neighbor.

3 See 17042

4 See't_become_

a_poor_nation_all_on_its_own_--_the_u.s's_hidden_role _in_the_disaster


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) developed "aid" programs in Haiti that were designed to transform subsistence farmers into laborers for export-oriented farming. Peasants that could not find jobs as farm laborers could go to urban areas and work in the newly built low-wage sweatshops making T-shirts for Walt Disney Corporation and other USbased companies. The farming for export idea failed and there were not nearly enough jobs for the working poor in the cities. The "development" plan did not work, and Haitians were left worse off. Of course, the USAID and other initiators of the plan never fixed the disaster they created. Eventually, the "American planners and Haitian elites decided that perhaps their development model didn't work so well in Haiti, and they abandoned it," leaving Haiti worse off than before.5 Failed development initiatives left Port-au-Prince extraordinarily vulnerable to natural disasters. USAID initiatives in the countryside combined with dumping of USsubsidized agricultural products forced peasants out of subsistence farming and into the cities to seek out survival. Many of these urban migrants live in houses made of cinderblock or other substandard materials that are very susceptible to earthquake damage. The fact that so many people live in inadequate housing structures adds significantly to the destruction. In mainstream media, Haitian peasants are primarily blamed for Haiti's deforestation, as many of them use charcoal for fuel. However, Haitian activists such as Ezili Danto place the blame on European and US companies who have been mining Haiti's natural resources (cement, marble, granite, aggregate, gold and copper) and razing forests for lumber for decades. It remains unclear what proportion of the blame lies with Haitian peasants. What is clear is that outside influences and internal poverty have left Haiti with less than 2% of its initial tree cover. The extreme deforestation of Haiti makes the country more vulnerable to landslides and earthquakes.

The story of Haitia nation that broke the rules from the beginning by standing on its own two feetis the story of how global capitalism works to keep most people in poverty. When Haiti won its independence from France, France and its allies ensured through military means that Haiti paid its debtand much moreto France. When investors in the US were looking for a source of cheap labor and raw materials, they looked to Haiti. Maintaining global inequality though military force and profiting off of cheap labor and natural resource extraction from poor countries is how global capitalism worksor does not work, according to your perspective.6 The earthquake in Haiti is a prime example of how unbridled capitalism kills. For this reason, it is crucial to think and to talk about Haiti, in addition to doing what we can to avoid as many deaths and injuries as possible during the current crisis. Perhaps then we can prevent the same mistakes from being committed in Haiti as they have elsewhere in the aftermath of disasters. Perhaps then we can truly rebuild Haiti, for the Haitians.

Invitation for More Articles

The Griot plans on making the crisis in Haiti a regular feature for the next several issues. If you would like to contribute commentary and/or critical analysis on the current situation in Haiti, the political history of Haiti, US policy on Haiti or related issues, please contact the editor at, or

See hlln_on_the_causes_of_haiti_deforestation_and_poverty

See URL listed in footnote 4.


A Witness to Lived, Black History

Remembering the Photographer and Artist, Roy DeCarava
By Arthur Paris, Syracuse University ABSers may be excused if they missed the passing of Harlem photographer Roy DeCarava, who died Tuesday October 27th last year at the age of 89. Having been retired for more than a decade, he may not have been well known to ABSers under 40. For those of us of a certain age, however, he was one of the best known Black photographers (after Gordon Parks and James Van Der Zee). Perhaps more so than any other photographer in recent memory, DeCarava used his camera lens as a witness to lived Black history. By taking unstaged and unrehearsed photos of people, engaged in the business of living he provided intimate glimpses into the daily life of Black communities. For me, he was a giant of the art, only in part because of his chosen subject (Black folks, Harlem, jazz musicians). I knew of him much more as a photo artist as opposed to a photojournalist and freelancer, (though, for much of his career, he supported himself in this manner). During a long career he worked with a variety of artists (Black and otherwise) and cultural luminaries, including Langston Hughes with whom he collaborated on The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955); and Albert Steichenan early mentor, who included two of his pictures in his landmark Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) exhibition The Family of Man (1955). MOMA also held a retrospective of his work in 1996. DeCarava also produced a volume of pictures of jazz musicians and their scene, The Sound That I Saw, that was published in 2001. I had always thought of him as (just) another Black American artist, and indeed, given our polyglot admixtures, he was.

Several obituaries report that he was born in Harlem in 1919, and notably, that he was raised by a Jamaican mother. So on him, as on numbers of other Harlemites (and other New Yorkers) of that era and later, the Islands left their stamp. He was a veteran of the WPA in Harlem, having worked for it as a sign painter; and later, attended Cooper Union, the Harlem Art Center and the George Washington Carver Art School; returning to Cooper Union and the Carver School in later years as a teacher. He also took up a post at the Hunter College of the City University of New York in the mid 1970s. After serving as a draftsman in the US Army during WWII, he returned to New York City and worked as a commercial artist. He initially used his camera as a notebook for images he wanted later to paint, but won over by the cameras advantages he moved to it as his tool. He enjoyed his first photo exhibit in 1950, and was the first Black photographer to win a Guggenheim art fellowship (1952).

"When I was trying to sell my photographs, I would take them to art directors and they were literally shaking when they saw my work," DeCarava said in an interviewin 1996. His work and self-confidence stirred fear, disbelief, even anger.

In his scholarship application, he wrote: "I want to show the strength, the wisdom, the dignity of the Negro people. Not the famous and the well known, but the unknown and the unnamed, thus revealing the roots from which spring the greatness of all human beings.I do not want a documentary or


sociological statement, I want a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret."7 He used the funding to take and make photos which became the basis of the book, The Sweet Flypaper of Life. Its long been out of print, but public libraries still have copies should you want to peruse it. It is also worth noting that despite eschewing a social science or documentary stance for an aesthetic one, his work recording the lives of ordinary folks going about their daily lives (coming out of the subway, walking on the street, dancing in their leisure, et al.) framed them with a dignity that was most unusual at the time. His eye, in treating the subjects of its and our gaze with respect and dignity, provides, within an often formal pictorial style, the visual parallel to the textual descriptions in works like Cayton & Drakes Black Metropolis (1945, 1962). Despite his subjects and interests, however, DeCarava resisted being pigeonholed as a Black photographer. Some of the harsh experience he had as a photojournalist, however, left its bruises. "When I was trying to sell my photographs, I would take them to art directors and they were literally shaking when they saw my work," DeCarava said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning in 1996. His work and self-confidence stirred fear, disbelief, even anger. "They were not used to seeing black artists walk through the door with a portfolio of photographs." 8 That experience and the continued struggle for commercial recognition led him to head up a protest against Life magazine in the 1960s, because of the discrimination it practiced against Black photographers. He and Gordon Parks (Lifes exceptional exception from that era) disagreed over this, and it led to a split between them.
7 Quoted from, Ula Ilnytzky, Associated Press, Roy DeCarava Obituary, October 29, 2009.

Quoted from Mary Rourke, Los Angeles Times, Roy DeCarava Obituary, Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2009

The hard experience in the industry also led him to chair the American Society of Magazine Photographers Committee to End Discrimination Against Black Photographers for several years in the mid 1960s. In addition, DeCarava helped found the Kamoinge Workshop in 1963, which provided an aesthetic home and exhibition space for a number of younger Black photographers. Such struggle wasnt only on photographys commercial side. In the mid 1960s the Metropolitan Museum of Art finally became aware of the large Black population living barely 2 miles uptown, and organized the exhibition Harlem On My Mind (1969). That exhibition became a source of major controversy because Black artists and cultural leaders complained that (yet, again) White cultural gatekeepers were making all the decisions and not consulting Black artists. The museum asked DeCarava to have his work in the exhibition (though not to participate in its planning and organization). He declined and instead joined in the protest against the exhibition. While known primarily as a chronicler of Harlem life and jazz musicians, he also did other work, working for Life, Look, (from the late 1950s) and Sports Illustrated starting in the late 1960s. He covered the historic march on Washington in 1963, and other protest actions. Unlike much of the other photos of the era covering the dramatic scenes, e.g., police dogs attacking demonstrators, fire hoses pummeling individuals, et al., DeCarava, focused on essential details and signature moments. I searched for (but was unable to find) a picture by him from this era, which has stuck with me. It shows a White policeman in a riot helmet. The picture is taken from the side and slightly behind the policeman, so his sharp facial profile stands out. Its his helmeted head and shirted shoulders we see, not the rest. The subtle tonal shading of the composition is arresting. The white helmet though dominates the frame. The viewer doesnt want to come face to face with this icon of white power. Better to watch this bird of prey from the side, and stay out of harms way.


Continued on page 23

Domestic Violence and Women of Color

By Cynthia T. Cook, Florida A & M University Rihanna and Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller Sheen, Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods, Robin Givens and Mike Tyson, and Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown: these are some of the celebrities associated with domestic violence or intimate partner violence. Domestic violence permeates every sector our society. We know a family member or friend who has been the victim of family violence. We may even have been the victim or the abuser. Domestic violence, family violence, or intimate partner violence is physical or verbal abuse perpetrated against a spouse and/or children by a family member. The abuser is usually a dominant male but could be female. Family violence also occurs in same-sex relationships. Eighty-five percent of domestic violence victims are women, one in four women have experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, and approximately 1.3 million women are abused by their husband or boyfriend each year.9 Men account for 15% of domestic violent cases.10 Nevertheless, this paper will only focus on heterosexual domestic violence relationships with women as the victim. Several years ago while teaching a Social Problems course I asked a colleague to substitute for me while I attended a conference. When I returned my students were in an uproar. The instructor had said, in accordance with the text, that more men are the victims of domestic violence than women. The class consisted of nontraditional female students, i.e. returning housewives. Many of these women had experienced domestic violence first hand or vicariously via friends and relatives.
9 Domestic Violence Fasts.; Domestic Violence Statistics. violence/resourcesC61/ 10

Seventy four percent of Americans know someone who is or has been the victim of domestic violence.11 And studies indicate that there appears to be equal physical abuse on the part of both partners.12 Wives and husbands are equally likely to engage in domestic violence and both tend to assault one another at the same rate; but womens behaviors are more self-protective or retaliatory while mens behaviors are more likely to send their partner or spouse to the hospital. ______________________________

Many African American women find themselves unwittingly in the same position as Muslim women; they are reluctant to press charges against an abusive spouse for fear of being ostracized...
Physical abuse is defined as a slap, a push, a shove as well as more serious physical contact that could send someone to the emergency room. Verbal abuse is language that is derogatory, degrading, insulting and/or demeaning. Long term verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse; women who are battered have more physical ailments.13 In sum the substitute professor got it right; she just did not have the entire story. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, women between 20 and 24, divorced or separated males and females, and low income people are at Continued on page 24



Shepard, JM, Narayan, P., & Hughes,B. 2009. Sociology with African American Contributions to Sociology. Cengage Learning.; Flynn, CP. 1990. Relationship Violence by Women: Issues and Implications. Family Relations 39:194198; Hotaling, GT et al. (eds.) 1988. Family Abuse and its Consequences. Beverly Hills, CA. Sage. IDVAAC. Fact Sheet: Intimate Partner Violence in the African American Community.


Domestic Violence Statistics, Ibid.


A Witness to Lived, Black History

Remembering the Photographer and Artist, Roy DeCarava
Continued from page 21 Another elder has crossed over. He was one of the artistic anchors of our younger adulthood, and helped us see with our minds eye more clearly. As the rhyme goes, Roys been here and gone, [and fortunately for us] left his work to carry on. Requiescat in pace.

Coltrane on Soprano

Best Clothes y/images/best.jpg

Father and Child y/images/father.jpg

Pepsi ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20pepsi_jpg.h tm

Paul Robeson ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20paul%20ro beson_jpg.htm

Langston Hughes

Photos by Roy DeCarava

Unfortunately, The Griot was unable to obtain permission to re-print some of Roy DeCaravas iconic images for this retrospective. However, readers are encouraged to visit the following links to view some of Mr. DeCaravas photos. Ode to Roy DeCarava nspire/decarava/index.html ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20langston%2 0hughes_jpg.htm

Duke Ellington ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20duke%20ell ington_jpg.htm

Subway ARAVA/pages/ m

Romare Bearden

Roy DeCarava, Candid ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20candid_jpg. htm ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20romare%20 bearden_jpg.htm


Graduation full.html ARAVA/pages/Roy%20Decarava%20%20smiling_jpg .htm

Man with Portfolio y/images/boy.jpg

Any Window ll.html

Mississippi Freedom Marcher

Picket, Downstate Demonstration ARAVA/pages/ m html


Domestic Violence
Continued from page 22 greater risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Every day at least three women and one man are murdered by an intimate partner.14 That is, most of the fatal and nonfatal violence is perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Causes for family violence vary. Some experts contend that children who grow up in a domestic violence environment are more prone to be an abuser or to put up with being abused. Others have argued that abusers are men who have low self-esteem, are unemployed, alcoholics, or religious conservatives. Still others contend that family violence is all about patriarchy and males need to control women. However, very few theories exist for why women abuse; perhaps because men are reluctant to report being battered by their wives or intimate partners. The US has gone from encouraging, some would argue mandating, people to assimilate to acceptance of a pluralistic society. Americans have become tolerant of people holding on to their culture to avoid being accused of ethnocentrism. Although many people support cultural rights, few are willing to support cultural rights that violate human rights. Cultural relativity has found law enforcement dealing with cultural issues that have manifested themselves as legal issues. Immigrants do not relinquish their culture at "Ellis Island" when they enter the United States; they bring it along with associated problems into our legal and social system. In February of 2009 a 37-year old Buffalo Muslim woman was beheaded by her husband after filing for divorce and taking out an order of protection. In 2008, a 25-year old Pakistani woman was strangled by her father in Atlanta, Georgia after she filled for divorce from her husband. And, an Iraqi woman was run over by her father in October of 2009 for being too Western. If these crimes had been committed in Muslim countries, the men would have been exonerated. The defense: the women had

Domestic Violence Statistics, Ibid.

dishonored or disgraced the family. But the crimes took place in the United States so these men will be prosecuted and held accountable for their behavior. The causes of domestic violence or honor killings in the Muslim community is said to be related to their religious beliefs and the low status of women. Men are socialized to be patriarchal, to dominate women, and to sanction women they perceive as not conforming to traditional behavior. One could argue that this also applies to violence against American women. In much of the Muslim world honor killing is tolerated and condoned. Men are seldom prosecuted since women are considered to be the property of their husbands or families. A woman that marries without the family's approval, is seen with a man who is not her husband or relative, or has sexual relations outside of marriage is said to have disgraced the family. Her male relatives consider it their obligation to restore the familys honor by punishing her: usually a death sentence. These extra judicial killings take place almost every day in the Muslin world. In November of 2009 a 20-year old Somali woman was stoned to death because she had premarital sex, her accomplice was given 100 lashes for his punishment. In December of 2009 the Saudi Arabian authorities sentenced a 75-year old woman to 60 lashes and 6 months imprisonment for being in the company of two unrelated males. The men, whose ages were not revealed, were sentenced to 40 lashes and four months imprisonment. In 2002 the world became aware of Sharia law when a Northern Nigerian woman, Safiya Husaini, was sentenced to be stoned to death for having an illicit relationship. The proof of the affair was a pregnancy. The condemnation of the international community, womens group in particular, was able to save her life and that of her child by appealing her sentence and obtaining an acquittal. At the time of her acquittal another woman, Amina Lawal, was sentenced to stoning for adultery. Again, her pregnancy was evidence that she had violated Sharia Law. These women were in consensual relationships. Interestingly, their male partners simply had to deny the


relationship to be exonerated. Men are seldom convicted of sex crimes in Sharia courts because you need 4 male witnesses to convict. Thus for women in Muslim societies if the family does not kill them for dishonoring the family, Sharia courts will or at least pass judgment on their behavior. International public indignation undoubtedly saved Amina Lawal along with several other Northern Nigerian women from execution. Unfortunately women in other Muslim countries have not been as lucky. Many African American women find themselves unwittingly in the same position as Muslim women; they are reluctant to leave or press charges against an abusive spouse for fear of being ostracized by family, friends, or the retaliation of the spouse. It is safe to assume that Chris Brown did not become abusive overnight. There must have been early signs of his potential abusive/ violent behavior. Experts of domestic violence in the African American community attribute male abusive behavior to jealousy, insecurity, attempting to imitate pimp behavior or an abusive father.15 Men have been socialized to believe that masculinity is associated with controlling women. Unfortunately abusive black husbands are more likely to be killed by a spouse acting in self defense.16 Nevertheless, the celebrity status of Rihanna and Chris Brown may have kept the couple together until the abuse became public. Like the Muslim community, the African American community may see domestic violence as dishonoring or disgracing the wider African American family. Getting an order of protection or calling the police in a domestic dispute may alienate the woman from the family while subjecting her partner to potential abuse by law enforcement. It may appear like a no win situation, but it may save her life or his. Studies have shown that Black women who can rely on others, family and friends, for

emotional and practical support are less likely to be re-abused.17 A 1996 study found that 29% of African American women and 12% of African American men reported at least one incident of partner abuse. In addition, a 2005 Department of Justice report found that 1/3 of domestic partner homicides and 29% of female intimate homicides were to African Americans. African American women were also 2.4 times more likely to be killed by their male spouse than the reverse.18 Like Muslim women domestic violence may be fatal for Black women. Ethnocentrism and assimilation may not be so bad after all; whether it is in the Muslim or Black community. Men, and women, from all races and ethnic groups need to know that society will not tolerate family violence, be it against women, children, or men. In October of 2009, a Staten Island Pakistani woman attempted to kill her husband because he was too Western. If we want to eliminate domestic violence all men must be taught to respect women and treat them as their equals. Everyone needs to know that violence within the family or against an intimate partner is unacceptable. And, although we are a pluralistic society, cultural practices that violate human and civil rights will not be tolerated and the individuals involved prosecuted. Women should stand up for their rights and press charges when they are physically abused whether by a stranger or a love one, i.e. Tiger Woods. Of course this is easier said than done. When it comes to relationships, it is never just black or white. There are always exceptions or mitigating circumstances. March is Womens history month; lets all work to eliminate

violence within our communities.

IDVAAC. Fact Sheet , Ibid; Goodman, LA & Dutton, MA (July 2003). Predicting re-abuse one year later. Paper presented at the 8th International Family Violence Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH.



Barber, MR. 1990. Why some men batter women. Ebony. Ibid.


IDVAAC. Fact Sheet , Ibid; Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. 2000.Extent , nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. Washington, DC. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; Bureau of Justice , Trends in Intimate Homicides.


Book Reviews
Revisiting Racism Without Racists
Review of Leading for Equity
By Jessica Ayo Alabi, Orange Coast College
Stacy Childress, Denis Doyle, and David Thomas. 2009. Leading for Equity: Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Leading for Equity: Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools is an account of Marylands Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) progress during the past decade towards achievement for all students regardless of race or class. Authors Stacy M. Childress, Denis P. Doyle, and David A. Thomas, using case study data from Harvards Educational Leadership Project, describe in detail the difficult task of closing the achievement gap with a focus on organizational leadership and broad integrated processes. They spotlight the leadership of superintendent, Jerry Weast, and the implementation of his vision for MCPS by vividly laying out equity strategies, structural changes and institutional barriers as a model for change. The achievement gap is a social problem steeped in the historical baggage of the nations persistent dilemma with racism in education, yet Childress and her colleagues manage to document a phenomenally successful process of school reform while hardly mentioning racism. By introducing a district ravaged with gross racial inequality, but concluding with a celebration of double-digit improvement for students of color in areas such as third grade literacy, advanced placement enrollment, and PSAT reading and math scores, they make their case for visionary leadership a compelling one. However, the books lack of serious attention to the arduous matter of institutional racism left a noticeable gap. The book has four thematic sections. The first gives the background of MCPS, the history of the national achievement gap and Weasts selection as superintendent. It also

contextualizes MCPS residential segregation and changing immigration patterns with details of Weasts strategic plan to address failing minority students while at the same time not jeopardizing successful white students. The second section details the implementation of key resources, processes, and assessments and Weasts decision to assign the segregated sections of the community differentiated resources and instruction by zones: red zone (predominately minority) and green zone (predominately white). In addition, Childress and her colleagues highlight Weasts uniting of formerly conflicting constituents in order to blur leadership and expand accountability. In the third section, systemic reform is halted by the culture of low teacher expectations, which is ultimately resolved by implementing a new equity framework for MCPS board members, administrators, teachers, and staff. The final section offers six lessons from MCPS journey, complete with how-to instructions and a call to other school districts to apply the model. Though the narrative is filled with equitable improvements, the absence of a broader inequality framework that considers institutional racism leaves a breach in how scholars explore inequality in education. Further, while it is industry norm to speak of an achievement gap, using institutional racism as an additional conceptual framework would have allowed the authors to address why and how white students achieve while students of color do not. Since data from the book exposes these glaring problems of institutional racism, the authors could have addressed it rather than using nearly raceless narratives. For example, while there is some suggestion that Weasts whiteness allowed him to do and say things that his African American predecessor could not, the authors do not fully integrate these notions of white privilege or racial power dynamics into their analysis. The authors also navigate away from exploring obviously racist behavior throughout the book. Examples include teachers who knew their minority students


qualified for AP courses but did not admit them into those classes and rampant grade inflation on deficient work for minorities but not whites. These teachers were described as believing the work was too hard for students, which leaves readers wondering how 66% could ever be considered an A grade for black students, but not white ones. The authors explain that individual teachers and schools were able to determine grading criteria, though it appeared obvious to angry MCPS parents that it was overt racism. The clearest example was the authors account of Weast and his team deciding to use the phrase institutional barriers instead of institutional racism for fear of misinterpretation by some teachers and administrators. While it might be understandable that MCPS decided to navigate racism carefully, it is unclear why the authors chose to follow suit instead of exploring racism in their analysis. This incident presented the authors with an irresistible opportunity to deconstruct the achievement gap and tackle the underlying issue of institutional racism while still telling a story of success. Leading for Equity teaches lessons about organizational leadership and school reform while demonstrating that educational equality is possible. However, I am bothered that the authors did not embrace the challenge that their data presented them. They optimistically conclude, instead, that problems of institutional racism can be resolved with the right kind of leadership and equity language. More disturbing, however, is their account of successful educational reform, which suggests that the best way to eradicate the consequences of racism is to not mention racism. This careful and strategic navigating of race talk, akin to Bonilla-Silvas (2003) color-blind racism, proved to be the best lesson that I learned from Weasts success at MCPS.
References Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2003. Without Racists: Colorblind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers.

Technological and Social Dimensions of Illness in the 21st Century

Review of A Life Worth Living
By Felice Jones-Lee, Stony Brook University
Robert Mortensen. 2008. A Life Worth Living: : A Doctors Reflections on Illness in an HighTech Era. New York City, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The advent of new technologies has created an ethos in healthcare that has challenged both practitioners and consumers of health in the United States. Robert Mortensens A Life Worth Living is a reflective series of vignettes collected from Mortensens career as an Emergency Department physician in Massachusetts. Philosophical issues surrounding death and dying in a high-tech environment create uncertainty in how the technological sprawl of the medical institution has negatively impacted the care of patients who may or may not holistically benefit from lifesustaining treatments. After all, suggests the author, the extension of life does not extend to the quality of life. Mortensen squarely contextualizes American consumption within the medical institution in order to explicate the irrationality of healthcare decision-making when there is no health left to purchase. Individual experiences are shared to explain the complexity of patienthood at various stages. Mortensen describes the diverse social dimensions of the patient juxtaposed within a clinical perspective. Trials of the Body introduces several of the authors subtexts, including the costs associated with longevity, technological advances and human suffering. The historical religiosity of the medical establishment is analogized to the devoutness of those patients who forgo their own needs in order to comply with the physician. Mortensen examines the dimensions of the compliant patient, whose beliefs are second only to those of the treatment team. Dogma, as Mortensen describes it, is rewarded with a persistence that imposes on the patients will as well as


Book Reviews
whatever semblance of health one has left. This is the paradox of the American healthcare system that has become so advanced that neither providers nor consumers know when treatment has reached the point of futility. Mortensen would argue that the costly system consumes everything in its path, including all available resources and the very lives that it purports to save. This line of reasoning is repeated in the chapter, If This is a Life, wherein Mortensen uses the Persistent Vegetative State diagnosis (PSV) in order to illuminate the associated financial and emotional costs of uncertain survival in a technology-rich environment. Less Traveled Paths and Life in the Narrows, chapters two and seven respectively, are devoted to accounts of patients who survive at the margins of the healthcare institution while facing their own mortality. Mortensens narrative makes it clear that patients who choose less traveled paths differ qualitatively from those who survive in the narrows, but offers no reconciliation of the two. The former includes accounts of patients who actively choose to forego the challenge of fighting acute disease, while the latter is an almost cautionary tale of the consequences of an illfitting healthcare system for those who cannot fight in a highly privatized system due to lack of coverage and/or resources. According to the author, I add this chapter as a witness to what has gone on and will likely continue for those who live in the narrows, and desperately so. If I did not include them, this book would not be complete. While the author obviously struggles with two standards of care provided in a capitalistic system, the right to healthcare becomes somewhat eclipsed by the right to choose. To his credit, the author and cocollaborator in healthcare is transparent in his description of the toll that hospitalization takes on ones autonomy. The chapter, Illusions of Control, belies the illusion that healthcare practitioners are benign servants to the ill. The criticality of specialized treatment units lies not within the patients conditions, but within the strict environs of space occupied by monitors, restraints and tubes that sustain life. The divorce of the body from the mind is all but induced by an environment that is less conducive to life than it is to protocols that sustain life. Here, Mortensen briefly introduces the patient-centered model for which institutions should strive, but seldom achieve. And therein lies the problem at least as the author sees it: There is little consideration for the patient in the present system. For all of the advances that medicine has made, it does little to improve life for those who must succumb to its rigors. A Life Worth Living poses intriguing questions about a rather technologically advanced healthcare system that has not significantly improved the quality of the lives it purports to save. While it does not offer many solutions to the dilemmas that consumers face given the current system, it begs for closer examination of both the qualitative and financial costs of extreme healthcare and well-being in a highly capitalized system.

Gendered Violence and Black Youth

Review of Getting Played
By Stacey N. Washington, Candidate for MA
in Sociology & Social Justice, Kean University Jody Miller. 2008. Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence. New York City, NY: New York University Press.

Getting Played gives readers a glimpse into the reality of African American adolescents raised in urban areas. Unlike previous research that normally studies the role of African American girls as perpetrators in juvenile delinquency, Getting Played examines their role as victims of sexual harassment, coercion, and assault. A voice is given to their perceptions and meanings about physical, verbal, and sexual assaults within their communities. Through their voice, readers are made aware of the gender inequalities that shape (and are shaped) by living in highly distressed neighborhoods and its role in creating high risk


environments for the young women that live there. Author and criminologist, Jody Miller, continues to expose readers to the impact of violence in the lives of young African American women from metropolitan areas. While writing her previous book One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender, she wanted to know, given the victimization risks young women face in gangs, what other facets of urban disadvantage shape girls risks for victimization? Getting Played identifies and examines those disadvantages while strategically not demoniz[ing] the young men involved. The study takes place in St. Louis, a metropolitan area comparable to other major urban areas in the US. Adolescent African American women and men were interviewed. The goal of the interviews was to capture the respondents, perceptions of gendered violence, the meanings they attached to the violence, and possible solutions to prevent it. The young men were interviewed to compare and contrast their views with the young women. The findings were categorized and reported in four themes: violence in school, dating violence, gendered violence in the neighborhoods and neighborhood risks. Although the perceptions were framed by gender and therefore different between the young women and men, both groups expressed victim blaming, lack of community efficacy and nonintervention, distrust of police, and, surprisingly, amusement. The findings also revealed the continuation of harassment between school and neighborhood, male dominance of public spaces, and gendered stereotypes that reinforced violence against women. Dr. Miller concludes Getting Played with several recommendations from her interviewees to address violence against young women, providing a blueprint for policymakers. The recommendations followed a gendered, ecological approach. Often policymakers believe a larger police presence will deter crime. However the creation of safe passageways without denouncing male domination of public space is merely a bandage. Getting Played demands that policymakers focusing on

neighborhood revitalization should not be blind to gender stereotypes and violence and should also consider the relationship between these stereotypes and violence. Getting Played makes a significant contribution to sociological research. It provides insight to a population that is underrepresented in social research but overrepresented as victims of crimes. By raising awareness about violence against young African American women it provides a holistic approach to improving conditions in highly distressed communities. Dr. Miller does not attempt to discredit previous sociological research on neighborhood disadvantage but fills the gap of gender inequality within those neighborhoods. Getting Played also sets the stage for future research. There is a need to explore the strategies young women employ to protect themselves against violence. A common strategy to avoid violence is to stay indoors. How is that time spent? What are the social, economical, and cultural advantages/disadvantages? What are the short/long term outcomes of not participating in public life? The book serves as a building block for community dialogues and program development. The inclusion of the recommendations from the young women and men illustrates the importance of their involvement in addressing this critical issue. As key stakeholders in the community, young people must be included in the program design, implementation, and evaluation process. Their lives and our future depend on it


Book Reviews
The Racial Construction of Dominicanidad
Review of Behind the Ears
By Jaqueline Smith, Syracuse University
Ginetta E. B. Candelario. 2007. Black Behind The Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops is a study of cultural and racial identity formation in the Dominican Republic and in two major US cities. The book asserts that the Dominican process of cultural and racial formation is the combined effect of anti-Haitian racism, US imperialism and Dominican nationhood. The books author uses ethnographic research, discourse and historical textual analysis as well as statistical data to inform her research. For Candelario, the Dominican identity is discursively produced, resulting in no less than twenty seven terms to describe ones race. This discursive production is racially Indian while simultaneously negating African ancestry. Unlike the construction of race in the US where the one drop rule to determine African descent still applies, race remains a socio-political, economic and ambiguous construct which utilizes ideology, anti-Haitianism and most importantly hair type to determine race. Candelario offers an engaging introduction which clearly frames her work as being organized in four spheres of identity which guide the ensuing chapters: travel narratives, the museum, the beauty salon, and the female body. Chapter one offers a close reading of US and European travel narratives from the eighteenth century to 1947. This chapter lays the groundwork for the anti-Haitian ideologies espoused in the Dominican Republic. In part due to US expansionism, which rendered the Dominican Republic whiter and whiter (thus safer) and Haiti blacker and blacker, US travel narratives set the people of the Dominican Republic in racial opposition to Haiti.

Chapter two analyzes the permanent displays of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano commissioned by former Dominican leader Trujillo in 1974. The exhibits in the museum serve to simultaneously historicize and legitimize the Indo-Hispanic legacy of the Dominican Republic and negate any references to African enslavement. Chapter three offers a glimpse of the ambiguous and shifting Dominican racial construct. Returning to the US, this chapter offers an interrogation of the Dominican experience in Washington DC. Through the 1994 Smithsonian Anacostia Museum exhibit, Black Mosaic, members of the DC area Dominican community gained a shared sense of solidarity with African Americans, identifying as black while concurrently maintaining a strong sense of Dominicanidad. In chapters four and five, Candelario moves the books focus to Dominicans living in the Washington Heights section of New York City. The product of six months of interviews, focus groups and participant observation at the Salon Lamadas, these chapters highlight the importance of hair in the creation of an Indo-Hispanic beauty ideal. This visual image serves as the marker of the US/New York Dominican identity, by creating a space that is neither representative of white Americans nor African Americans but purely Dominican. Black Behind the Ears examines a range of varied sources. As such, Candelario achieves depth by grounding her contemporary observations in sociohistorical discourse concerning Dominican racial and cultural identity, and analyzing how assertions of Dominicanidad resonate with institutional narratives in both the Dominican Republic and the US. While there is a breadth of information on the Dominican immigrants view of the Dominican identity, the book lacks interrogation of current identity politics. However, in approximately 300 pages, Candelario offers a readable analysis of the complex identity politics informing Dominicans on the island and in the US for both the graduate and undergraduate levels.


A Conversation with Patricia Hill Collins

Continued from page 8

example, I want to see more focus on questions that examine the kinds of things that are occurring globally around issues of micro-credit and sustainability. There are some very interesting and innovative solutions that are beginning to be practiced by people on the ground.

slower to affect Black people and may be less effective. When poor Black people have opportunities then its really going to be fairer for everyone in some fundamentally changed way. So having said that, I think the economic issues are really crucial. The civil rights movement focused on state power assuming that if you somehow petitioned the state and got it to protect civil rights such that Blacks could compete equally, then all would be solved. Specifically, economic capacity would be increased and poverty among Blacks would be reduced. To a certain extent, that did work. The creation of a black middle class is nothing to be sneezed at. But at the same time, I think we can see now the limits of that particular strategy. So I would like to see more attention paid to issues of economic opportunity and development from the bottom up. Intellectually, I would very much like to see more attention given to the interconnectedness of race and class. In the United States, weve spent so much time fighting about whether race or class are more fundamental in explaining Black poverty that we overlook promising developments that do not petition the state. In the US, were overly preoccupied with petitioning the government. Im not arguing that needs to go away, but Id like to see increasing emphasis placed on economic capacity, which doesnt necessarily mean looking exclusively to the government as the engine of that. Here we have much to learn from the global context. There are many places where people have simply abandoned hope that larger state programs are going to deliver anything to them, whether it is socialism or the social welfare state. We have much to learn from people in these settings. For

I think that sociology as a discipline has quite a bit to offer if it saw itself as being a more powerful discipline. Chasing the dream that sociology is only a science impoverishes the field from where I sit. I think the field needs to be bold and claim what it already is and does.
The Griot: Of course Black feminist inquiry has made some important contributions to the analysis of race and classin addition to the situation of women and sexual minorities. So are there any questions that are specific to Black feminist inquiry that you think should be explored? Patricia Hill Collins: Yes it does, and this is where directions in global feminism are really very interesting. If you give money to women or find ways for women to earn money women tend to spend the money on families, on health care, on their children and on education. That seems to be where they spend money or want to spend money. When you look at people on the ground who are in a difficult economic situationI dont mean people that are entrenched in the consumerism that were encouraged to follow in this countrybut folks who are dealing with real bread and butter issues and trying to figure out a way to move forward with their lives, whether its globally or herewomen have been Continued next page


A Conversation with Patricia Hill Collins

Continued from previous page quite central to that. In some ways, it is inherently already a feminist agenda. Societies where the women are more empowered tend to do economically better overall. So women are quite central to economic developmentas opposed to the idea of, were going to think of an economic development plan and then apply it to women later on. So I say we really need to look at ways of enhancing economic capacity. When it comes to these issues, Black women are especially wellrepresented in the African Diaspora. So we really need to look at women, and especially Black women, as central to any agendas for enhancing economic capacity. Im certainly concerned about women and Ive written a lot about feminism but I also think that the major action now is around youth. Thats really what we need to be looking at. This generation of folks who are coming of age now live under a very different set of conditions and I think we need to come up with new ways of thinking about this and also strategies that will work for their empowerment so they can empower themselves. Thats a little different than looking for discrimination under every rockthere is lots of discrimination, do not hear me wrong on thisbut I just think discrimination is something that has already received a lot of attention and Id really like to broaden our agenda a bit more to focus on the needs of Black youth. The Griot: How would you apply those priorities to the field of sociology as a whole? The original question I had was, What sort of questions do you think the field of sociology should be addressing? But I guess it could also be framed as, Do you think the field of sociology is doing a

good job of addressing the sorts of issues youve just outlined? Patricia Hill Collins: Absolutely. You will find that Im a huge fan of sociology. I really amI was a sociology undergraduate major and my doctorate is in sociology. And lately, Ive just had all kinds of good experiences with sociology. The 2009 ASA meeting in San Francisco comes to mind. I think that sociology brings structural analysis to the forefront, which has been underappreciated in the context that were in now with neoliberal policies focusing on individualism. Sociology brings a structural analysis thats very much needed. We have a good theoretical tradition, far too often under-recognized for my taste, that asks big, tough questions about the society we live in. Plus sociology as a discipline has a wonderful tool kit of methodological approacheswhether were talking about statistical information that is needed to convince people that there are social problems or studies that are really deeply tied into community and cultural practices. Sociology is a border discipline that touches political science, philosophy, some of the natural sciences (biology and genetics come to mind), anthropology and literary criticism. Yet its interdisciplinary inclinations are not routinely seen as a strength. So I think that sociology as a discipline has quite a bit to offer if it saw itself as being a more powerful discipline. In some ways, chasing the dream that sociology is only a science impoverishes the field. I think the field needs to be bold and claim what it already is and doeswhich is the ability to put many different things in play and have them work. Looking at how sociology is organized to build on its strengths, I think theres plenty of space for diverse professional associations. I like the idea of different organizations specializing in different aspects of the field. I see a place for organizations like ABS or SWS or regional associations or the Humanists. When sociology takes on the worst of the society thats around it, it impoverishes sociological practice.


I would like to see a more robust understanding of sociology both in the US and globallywhich is now possible because of available technologyapplied to some of the important issues that sociology has traditionally examined, such as economics and race; and more recently, questions of gender and sexuality. Because our subject matter is society, sociologists will never run out of interesting and important things to study and say. We have to look ahead and not just look back; thats what I would say about any association. Certainly we began our conversation with ABS and its very important contributions around race and Blacks in sociology in particular, but we need to look ahead. I hope that this is what the association is doing. The Griot: I wonder if its OK if I could take you on a tangentbecause I thought your description of sociology as a border discipline was very compelling. I think theres always been a split identity in sociology. I imagine everyone is familiar with the heated conflicts that have occurred over epistemology and theory. Sometimes it leads sociologists who are trying to do original, critical work to wonder if what theyre doing is really sociology of whether it will be taken seriously by other sociologists. Thats why Id be curious to learn more about how you see sociology as a border discipline. Patricia Hill Collins: I began this interview talking about issues of racial segregation, but I see segregation as a metaphor for all sorts of social relations. Historically, sociology was uncomfortable with itself because it was a border discipline during a period of separation where, to know who you were, you had to pick a side. You were, for example, black or white, or you were a sociologist or you werent one. You had to be whatever it wasnot that other race, religious group, or discipline. Any kind of area that appeared to be messy or that had porous borders, that seemed to be not pure in some waymulatto or mestizo racial identities or sociology as a border disciplinehad trouble in terms of the way it situated itself in relation to its

neighbors. We dont live in that world any more. This is very much an interdependent, interconnected globe, where people who are on the front end of creating knowledge creating innovative programs, innovative research designsrecognize that they cannot answer these questions by themselves, from one vantage point, from within one particular category. Interdisciplinarity is certainly one way this is expressed in the academy. The irony is that sociology has historically had the potential for tremendous heterogeneity within its borders. Yet, depending on which national setting youre looking at, sociology has attempted to purify itself by quieting selected segments within it. Michael Burawoys 2004 Presidential address on public sociology attempted to map out the focal points of what constituted sociological practice and show that sociology was much broader than it was commonly assumed to be. Sociology is a field with tremendous potential. Fighting about what belongs within sociology and what stands outside can impoverish us. Efforts to purify the field arent the way to go in these current intellectual and political conditions, because the world is not going in that directionso I see that as a failed project. Programs or departments that are still fighting those old battles over qualitative versus quantitative, or that fail to appreciate emerging areas such as cultural sociology and media studies, or that reject intersectional paradigms of class, race and gender I discussed earlier, are really looking backwards more than they are looking forward. The final portion of this interview will appear in the June 2010 edition of The Griot.


Member News & Announcements

All notices are listed in alphabetical order, per section, by surname. Editors Note: Please send in your member news! I have redoubled my efforts to remind ABS members to share their updates with the newsletterbut I am no less guilty of forgetting to include news about my own accomplishments. I have tried to correct this omission by posting some of my highlights dating back to 2008, in hopes that it will encourage others to do the same. Please note that the normal policy has been to accept news that is no more than 1 year old (from the date of the publication of the newsletter), but because member news has been so sparse, this edition includes news that dates to 2007. So if you have news you want to share thats up to 2-3 years old, please feel free to send. Please also send announcements about events that you think may be of interest to the ABS membership. Please send your member news to or

Dr. Hamers portfolio consists of graduate admissions and diversity initiatives. Congratulations also to Akil Kokayi Khalfani, for being promoted to the rank of Associate

Professor of Sociology at Essex County College in December 2009. Dr. Khalfani is

also the Director of the Africana Institute at Essex County College.

Teaching and Conferences

Jualynne E. Dodson (Michigan State University) was recognized by her university as Distinguished Faculty for Enhancing Global Competency. Dr. Dodson also presented a paper with graduate student, Sonya Maria Johnson titled, , "Interacting With Spirits: Intangible Practices in Oriente Cuba" at UNESCO's invitational conference held on Pico Island, Azores of Portugal. Doris Wilkinson (University of Kentucky) was recognized in the spring of 2009 for her outstanding teaching efforts She was presented with "A Teacher Who Made a Difference" award by the University of Kentucky's College of Education. She was nominated by a biology student who completed the popular course that she teaches titled "Society and Health.

The 2010 National Black Graduate Student Conference will be held in San Diego, March 10-14. For more info visit: e2010/

Publications and Research

Recent publications by Sandra Barnes (Vanderbilt Peabody College): Co-edited with Juan Battle, eds., 2009. Black Sexualities: Probing Passions, Problems, and Policies, Rutgers University Press; 2009. "Enter Into His Gates: An Analysis of Black Church Participation Levels," Sociological Spectrum 29: 2: 173-200; 2009. Theological, Denomination-al, and Organizational Influences on Ecumenical Involvement between Black and White Churches, Journal of African American Studies, 14: 1: 1-20; 2009. "Romantic and Familial Relationships with Black Males: Implications of the Cinderella Complex and Prince Charming Ideal." Journal of Black Women, Gender, & Families 3: 2: 1-28.

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Congratulations to Jennifer F. Hamer for being appointed to the position of Associate Dean, Graduate College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2009.


Recent publications by Jualynne E. Dodson (Michigan State University): 2008. Sacred Spaces and Religious Traditions in Oriente Cuba, University of New Mexico Press; 2009. "African Descendent Women and Religion: Diaspora in Oriente Cuba," in L. Ashcraft-Eason and D. Martin, eds. Women and New Africana Religions, Praeger; Lead author with members of the African Atlantic Research Team, 2009. "Take the Fifth: Mentoring Students Whose Cultural Communities Were Not Historically Structured Into US Higher Education," Innovative Higher Education, 34: 3; Co-edited with members of the African Atlantic Research Team. 2009. Diaspora Visions: Global Poetic Perspectives From The African Atlantic Research Team School of New World Thought, Michigan State University. Tamara Nopper (Temple University). Jared Sexton (UC Irvine) and Joao Costa Vargas (University of Texas) have just edited Race and the Variations of Discipline a special issue of Critical Sociology (January 2010, Vol. 36, no. 1). It is now available at Sage Journals on-line. Tamara Nopper also recently published 2009. The Globalization of Korean Banking and Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Race, Gender and Class, 16:3-4. Recent publications by Philip Kretsedemas (UMass-Boston): Co-edited with David Brotherton, 2008. Keeping Out the Other: A Critical Introduction to US Immigration Enforcement, Columbia University Press (listed among the 2008 Outstanding Academic Titles in the January 2009 edition of Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries); 2008. Redefining Race in North America. Current Sociology, 56:6: 827-845; 2008. Immigration Enforcement and the Complication of National Sovereignty: Understanding Local Enforcement as an Exercise in Neoliberal Governance. American Quarterly. 60:3: 553-573.

Dr. Kretsedemas was also awarded a Joseph P. Healey Grant (by UMass-Boston) for the 20082009 academic year for the media audience study, From brown to white? A critical analysis of the discourse on race and immigrant assimilation in Ugly Betty. The first publication from this study is forthcoming (2010-2011) in the Journal of African American Studies. Judith Rollins (Wellesley College) is pleased to share the news about her contribution to the 2007 UMass-Boston, Social Theory Forum on Frantz Fanon which was later published as part of a special collection of essays from the conference; 2007. "And the Last Shall Be First: The Master-Slave Dialectic in Hegel, Nietzsche and Fanon." Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. Special Issue on Frantz Fanon.

The Griot
Editorial Team
Cynthia T. Cook Cultural Issues & Current Events Florida A & M University Rutledge Dennis International/Global Issues George Mason University Department of Sociology/Anthropology Philip Kretsedemas Editor University of Massachusetts-Boston Arthur Paris Book Reviews Syracuse University BarBara M. Scott Conference Reports Northeastern Illinois University


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