Graduate Colloquium with Kyndall Clark (MLA) and Julia Cox (English)
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 9:30am

Kyndall Clark (Master of Liberal Arts)
Black Girls Matter: The Politics of Place and Identity 

In the past year, several regional coalitions have come together to #BreakTheSilence, to #SayHerName and to assert that #BlackGirlsMatter. #BlackGirlsMatter is a national movement to amplify the voices of girls and women of color. For example, although this community experiences both police brutality and increased exposure to sexual violence, they are often excluded from both racial justice and gender justice initiatives. Thus, this presentation aims to answer several questions: what are the everyday experiences of girls of color; how do we currently address racism and sexism; and what does intersectionality look like in practice? It is my hope that this presentation will be useful in providing examples of intersectional framing in both policy reform efforts and social justice endeavors. 

Julia Cox (English)
Beyoncé’s Mixed Media Feminism: Staging, Sounding, and Sampling Gender Politics in “Flawless”

 Lately, American popular culture has been overrun by various declarations of feminism. As Alice Vincent of The Telegraph noted, suddenly, “it became cool to use the F word.”  The most visible name-dropping has come from Beyoncé.  From her 2014 MTV VMA performance in front of a giant LED display of “FEMINIST,” to her essay “Gender Equality is a Myth!” for The Shriver Report and sampling of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé has built a brand around this formerly dirty word.

Yet, the prolific media conversations that surround Beyoncé have largely only considered her relationship to feminism based on her lyrical proclamations and identity politics. This presentation will posit how to form a more nuanced critique of Beyoncé’s cultural position and feminist musical practice.  Using the song “Flawless” from visual album Beyoncé (2013) as a case study, the discussion will assess how sonic structure, vocal performance, and visual narrative intertwine to produce a mixed-media feminist aesthetic. In moving beyond lyrical analysis and labels, perhaps we can consider music as a cultural language through which gender politics are not merely reflected, but also created, debated, sounded, and staged.