Edna Acosta-Belén is a Distinguished Service Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Women's Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY, where she also serves as Director of the Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC). Her areas of research are Hispanic Caribbean and U.S. Latino cultural studies and women's studies. Some of her book publications include The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Its History and Contribution (2000), Women in the Latin American Development Process (with C.E. Bose, 1995), Researching Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (with C.E. Bose. 1993), The Way it Was and other Writings by Jesus Colon (with V. Sanchez Korrol, 1993), The Hispanic Experience in the United States (with B.R. Sjostrom, 1988), The Puerto Rican Woman: Perspectives on Culture, History, and Society (1986, 1979), La mujer en la sociedad puertorriqueña (1980), Albany PR-WOMENET Database: An Interdisciplinary Annotated Bibliography on Puerto Rican Women (with C.E. Bose and A. Roschelle, 1991), and An Interdisciplinary Guide for Research and Curriculum on Puerto Rican Women (with C.E. Bose and B.R. Sjostrom, 1990). She is currently working on the book manuscript Imagining the Nation: Colonialism, Migration, and Puerto Rican Culture to be published by Temple University Press. http://www.albany.edu/irow/bios/belen.html

Leila Ahmed was appointed to the Thomas chair in 2003 at the Harvard Divinity School. Before that, she was the first person to hold the Women's Studies in Religion professorship, established in 1999. Prior to her appointment to HDS, she was professor of women's studies and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst beginning in 1981. While at the University of Massachusetts, she was director of the women's studies program from 1992 to 1995 and director of the Near Eastern studies program from 1991 to 1992. Her latest book, A Border Passage, has been widely acclaimed. Her other publications include the books Women and Gender in Islam: The Historical Roots of a Modern Debate and Edward William Lane: A Study of His Life and Work and of British Ideas of the Middle East in the Nineteenth Century, as well as many articles, among them "Arab Culture and Writing Women's Bodies" and "Between Two Worlds: the Formation of a Turn of the Century Egyptian Feminist." She is currently working on Islam in America and issues of women and gender. http://www.hds.harvard.edu/dpa/faculty/area2/ahmed.html

Born in 1940, in the central region of Ghana, then called by its colonial name, the Gold Coast; Ama Ata Aidoo was the daughter of a chief in the town of Abeadzi Kyiakor and grew up in the royal household. She attended the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast and, subsequently, the University of Ghana at Legon from 1961 to 1964, where she was an active participant in the school of drama and the writer's workshop and produced her first play The Dilemma of a Ghost in 1964. Between 1964 and 1966 Aidoo was a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University, which most likely influenced her writing by strengthening her commitment to the use of African oral traditions in her work. She was also undoubtedly influenced by the pan-Africanist and socialist ideas that were prevalent in the 1950s and 60s in the period leading up to and immediately after the independence of Ghana in 1957. http://www.scholars.nus.edu.sg/post/africa/ghana/aidoo/aidoobio.html

Amrita Basu is Professor of Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College. Her interests are in questions of women's activism, women and social movements, women and religious politics, post colonial feminism and women's human rights. In addition, she is the author of two books: Appropriating Gender: Women's Activism and Politicized Religion in South Asia, editor, with Patricia Jeffery (Routledge, 1998) and Two Faces of Protest: Contrasting Codes of Women's Activism in India (University of California Press, 1992).

Rey Chow was born in Hong Kong and educated in both British colonial and American institutions. She received her doctorate in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and has taught at the University of Minnesota and at the University of California, Irvine. Currently, she is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University. Author of numerous books and articles, she co-edits Duke University Press's series, "Asia Pacific: Culture, Politics, Society." Her 1995 book, Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema, won the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association in 1996. Winner of the First Place Book Award from Chicago Women in Publishing, she has been a recipient of research fellowships from the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. http://www.has.vcu.edu/eng/lcc/chow.htm

Maryse Condé, Professor Emeritus, was born in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. She studied at the Université de Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), where she took her doctorate in Comparative Literature (1975). Her research was on Black stereotypes in Caribbean literature. For twelve years, she lived in West Africa: Guinea, Ghana, Senegal, where she taught French at various levels. She returned to France in 1973 to teach Francophone Literature at Paris VII (Jussieu), X (Nanterre), and III (Sorbonne Nouvelle). Early in her career, she tried her hand at dramatic writing but took to the novel in 1976, producing Heremakhonon inspired by events of her life in West Africa. It was not until her third novel published in 1984, Ségou I, Les Murailles de Terre, II, La Terre en Miettes that she established her pre-eminent position among contemporary Caribbean writers. Since then, she has published regularly (ten novels to date) while continuing an academic career which brought her to UC Berkeley, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, and Harvard before coming to Columbia in 1995. At Columbia, she chaired the Center for French and Francophone studies from its foundation in 1997 to 2002. Maryse Condé's novels have been translated into English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.

During the last 25 years, Angela Davis has lectured in all 50 United States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Former Soviet Union. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of five books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974); Women, Race & Class (1981); Women, Culture & Politics (1989); Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainy, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday (1998); and The Angela Y. Davis Reader. She is also the editor of If They Come In The Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971).Currently, she is a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1984, she received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies.

Cynthia Enloe received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves on several feminist journal editorial boards including Signs, Women's Studies International Forum, and International Feminist Review of Politics. She has been teaching at Clark University since 1972. Professor Enloe studies the impact of militarism, state policies and politics on the lives of women throughout the world. Her most recent publication is Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives (University of California Press, 2000). Her classic Bananas, Beaches, and Bases was released in a new edition in 2000. In addition to these books, she has published on the topics of sexual politics at the end of the Cold War, the militarization of women's lives, and ethnicity and the military. As a Radcliffe Fellow in 2001, Enloe's project, "'Climates' and 'Cultures': What Feminists See When They Look at Women's Lives Inside the State," examined the lives of women within the state from a feminist perspective. Throughout her career she has received numerous distinctions, including a Fulbright Research Grant, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, a visiting professorship at Wellesley College, and an Honorary Professorship of Political Science at the University of Wales.

Paula Giddings

Wilma Mankiller ia a former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. In 1985, Wilma Mankiller became the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, winning the election with 56 percent of the vote. She grew up in Mankiller Flats near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and her last name is a term of respect for Indian warriors who protected villages. In her book Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, Mankiller tells her family's story of leaving Oklahoma for California in 1956 as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Relocation Program. The program was set up to urbanize poor rural Native Americans. In 1969, she watched the AIM (American Indian Movement) protest on Alcatraz Island on television. This led to her initial involvement in the struggle for Native American rights. Her book also details her social and political involvement in American Indian and women's issues and her return to her northeast Oklahoma roots. Since then, Mankiller worked on many community development programs designed to provide jobs and/or homes to Native American people. In 1991, she was reelected as chief. In 1994, Oklahoma's Institute of Indian Heritage honored Chief Wilma Mankiller during their annual "Spirit of the People" fall festival. She left her position as chief in 1995 because of poor health. During her tenure as chief, she was an effective spokesperson in Washington, worked for health care programs, and fought for the rights of children. Mankiller holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Yale University.

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford, in 1931 in Lorain (Ohio), the second of four children in a black working-class family. She displayed an early interest in literature. Morrison studied humanities at Howard and Cornell Universities, followed by an academic career at Texas Southern University, Howard University, Yale, and since 1989, a chair at Princeton University. She has also worked as an editor for Random House, a critic, and given numerous public lectures, specializing in African-American literature. She made her debut as a novelist in 1970, soon gaining the attention of both critics and a wider audience for her epic power, unerring ear for dialogue, and her poetically-charged and richly-expressive depictions of Black America. A member since 1981 of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has been awarded a number of literary distinctions, among them the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Nell Irvin Painter is a leading historian in the United States. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University. She was Director of Princeton's Program in African-American Studies from 1997-2000. In addition to her doctorate in history from Harvard University, she has received honorary doctorates from Wesleyan, Dartmouth, SUNY-New Paltz, and Yale. As a scholar, Professor Painter has published numerous books, articles, reviews, and other essays. Her most recent book is Southern History Across the Color Line.

Elena Poniatowska is writer, renowned journalist, and professor. She was born in Paris in 1932, but, as a child, moved to Mexico with her family. Her journalism and writing explore and grapple with various social and cultural situations and histories. In addition, she is a biographer and translator. Her works include Hasta no verte Jesús mio, Tinísima, a biography about Tina Modotti, the Italian photographer. Other books include Nothing, Nobody, and Massacre in Mexico, Paseo de la Reforma, and Cartas de AlvaroMutis. Poniatowska is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Emeritus Fellowship from Mexico's National Council of Culture and Arts. In 1979 she became the first woman to win the Mexican national award for journalism. Recently, Poniatowska has taught courses in creative writing, literature, journalism and translation. Her writing has been translated into numerous languages including English, French, Italian, German, Danish and Dutch. Elena Poniatowska currently lives in Mexico.

Nawal El Saadawi is a novelist, a psychiatrist and a writer who is well known both in the Arab countries and in many other parts of the world. Her novels and her books on the situation of women in Egyptian and Arab society have had a deep effect on successive generations of young women over the last three decades. Nawal El Saadawi has been awarded several national and international literary prizes, and has lectured in many universities and participated in many international and national conferences. Her works have been translated into over 30 languages all over the world, and some of them are taught in a number of universities and colleges in different countries.

Born in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, Dr. Vandana Shiva is a trained nuclear physicist who is the founding director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi, India. Dr. Shiva is an advisor to governments in India and abroad and a member of non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the International Forum on Globalisation, Women's Environment and Development Organisation and Third World Network. Dr.Shiva is also a world-renowned commentator on issues of poverty and globalization, being one of the five British Broadcasting Corporation's Year 2000 Reith Lecturers. She is the author of Biopiracy (South End Press, USA, 1997). http://www.abc.net.au/specials/shiva/default.htm

In July 3, 2001, Ruth J. Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University. She also holds appointment as professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of Africana Studies. She was president of Smith College from 1995 until the time of her appointment at Brown. A native of Texas and a 1967 graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, Simmons received her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University in 1973. She has written on the works of David Diop and Aime Cesaire and is the author of a book on education in Haiti. More recently, she has spoken and written on a wide array of educational and public policy issues, including diversity, liberal arts, science education, and the role of women in society. Simmons is the recipient of a number of prizes and fellowships, including the German DAAD and a Fulbright Fellowship to France.

Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism
Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 | phone: 413.585.3388 | fax: 413.585.3362 | meridians@smith.edu
Published by Indiana University Press