Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women

Edited by Mia E. Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, Barbara D. Savage

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2091-6
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2092-3
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4713-3
    Published: April 2015

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

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Despite recent advances in the study of black thought, black women intellectuals remain often neglected. This collection of essays by fifteen scholars of history and literature establishes black women's places in intellectual history by engaging the work of writers, educators, activists, religious leaders, and social reformers in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. Dedicated to recovering the contributions of thinkers marginalized by both their race and their gender, these essays uncover the work of unconventional intellectuals, both formally educated and self-taught, and explore the broad community of ideas in which their work participated. The end result is a field-defining and innovative volume that addresses topics ranging from religion and slavery to the politicized and gendered reappraisal of the black female body in contemporary culture.

Contributors are Mia E. Bay, Judith Byfield, Alexandra Cornelius, Thadious Davis, Corinne T. Field, Arlette Frund, Kaiama L. Glover, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, Natasha Lightfoot, Sherie Randolph, Barbara D. Savage, Jon Sensbach, Maboula Soumahoro, and Cheryl Wall.

About the Authors

Mia E. Bay is professor of history at Rutgers University.
For more information about Mia E. Bay, visit the Author Page.

Farah J. Griffin is William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University.
For more information about Farah J. Griffin, visit the Author Page.

Martha S. Jones is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan.
For more information about Martha S. Jones, visit the Author Page.

Barbara D. Savage is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
For more information about Barbara D. Savage, visit the Author Page.


“A groundbreaking new read. . . . One of the many strengths of this anthology is the non-traditional ways its authors define critical thinking.”—ESSENCE

“Impressive and necessary . . . [and] every chapter merits its own attention.”—Women’s Review of Books

“This volume promotes study of a vital fiber in the tapestry of US history...Highly recommended”—Choice

“Offers a compelling exploration of black women’s diverse intellectual labors and contributions.”—Journal of Southern History

“A wonderful guide for activists and lay historians interested in understanding the longer trajectory of black women’s work as thinkers and doers in the world.”—Journal of American History

"This superb and ambitious collection of essays showcases the contributions of black women to the history of ideas, recognizing that their work is generally excluded from intellectual histories. Each essay is thoroughly researched, cogently argued, and well written, building upon the pioneering work of black feminist artists, activists, and scholars who have labored to establish the field of black women's intellectual history." —Valerie Smith, Princeton University

Multimedia & Links

Keep up with events, contributors, articles of interest, and more at the book's Facebook page.

Follow the editors on Twitter:
Farah J. Griffin: @FJasmineG
Martha S. Jones: @marthasjones_
Barbara D. Savage: @bdsavage1