AGENCY + CARE: Black Women's Literature and the Power of Well-Read Black Girl(s)


Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships




Well-Read Black Girl


This partnership with Well-Read Black Girl (WRBG) focuses on the intergenerational communities of care and resistance Black women have built based on their shared love of reading and writing in the last decade (especially during the Movement for Black Lives). With over 350,000 members, WRBG aims to diversify the publishing industry by connecting editors with emerging Black writers, empowering Black women to use storytelling as a tool for activism, and educating the public on the meaning and value of Black literature through dynamic programming. This project celebrates the radical possibilities of this work, examining how storytelling and literature can be catalysts for care-centered community-building and organizing. Programming and collaborative writing throughout the fellowship will be guided by the exploration of the following questions: (1) How are Black women using Black women’s literature to create communities of care and political action in this era of anti-racist and feminist change? (2) How might these sites of reading and writing be transformative spaces of knowledge-making and pedagogical practice? (3) If we center Black women’s literature and its readers, how may this community of artists, activists, and scholars help us better understand conceptualizations of “public” and its racialized and gendered dimensions? The partnership with WRBG will document some of the spaces outside of higher education where Black women’s literature is leading people to engage in political change through Black feminist praxis, while also offering evidence that there are a variety of careers where Black women with graduate degrees are creating theoretical knowledge, teaching and communicating their research expertise, and engaging in life-long learning.