Dr. Janaka Lewis is an Assistant Professor of English at UNC Charlotte who is teaching a course on Black Girlhood Celebration this spring. Her research statement elaborates on the kind of work this study encompasses:
“Dr. Lewis’ current research project, “Freedom to Play,” looks at narratives of girlhood in African American literature (19th through 21st centuries) and the ways play is both embraced as a tool of liberation and means of negotiating identity and used to restrict the spaces in which black girls are able to move.”
“Using authors that include Harriet Jacobs, Zora Neale Huton, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison, she discusses narratives of games that mimic the roles that young girls are expected to embody as adults, stories that are passed down from elders, and lessons that are taught about and through play in formal and informal educational settings. Along with scholarship about these narratives, Dr. Lewis is also planning to create a black girlhood studies reader with excerpts of literary experiences in black girlhood and to incorporate the narratives as interactive experiences for a broad audience.”
Join me on May 17th for another engaging conversation on Southern Wonder as I sit down with Dr. Lewis and two of her students, Sara Eudy and Maria Lignos, to talk LIVE on Charlotte Community Radio about Black Girlhood Celebration. We’ll dig into the ways they’ve used to explore what a celebration of Black girlhood looks like today.
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