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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Events February 5, 2016

“Which Feminism Will We Choose?” Imani Perry Will Speak at Smith

Imani Perry portrait

Imani Perry, a Princeton professor who has written widely on topics ranging from Brown v. Board of Education to politics and poetics in hip hop, will speak at Smith College as part of the college’s Presidential Colloquium series at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Perry’s talk, titled “Which Feminism Will We Choose?” draws on her forthcoming book, Vexy Thing: A Book on Gender, and will explore how the digital age, social media and recent changes in the political economy, labor and international relations complicate the already complex range of feminist philosophies and practices.

An interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture, Perry is author of More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States and Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop.

The Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies and faculty associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton, Perry has written and taught on a number of topics regarding race and African American culture. Using methods of discussion and analysis from various fields of study—including law, literary and cultural studies, music, and the social sciences—Perry’s work often focuses on multifaceted issues such as the influence of race on law, literature and music.

In her work, Perry has taken on complicated and timely issues. In her 2011 book, More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States, for example, Perry discusses the ongoing intersection of race and politics in America.

“There is an all-too-common yet profoundly incorrect belief that racism is no longer practiced and that the inequality we see today can be largely attributed to the legacy of our racist past. While I acknowledge the former (history has shaped what we find today), I reject the assumptions of the latter,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “The practice of racial inequality is sustained. It is sustained in ways that are important for the maintenance of inequality. It shapes markets for employment, law, public policy and the media and our experiences as citizens and residents of this and other nations.”

In addition to More Beautiful, More Terrible, Perry is the author of Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop. Her forthcoming book, to be published by Oxford University Press, is a cultural history of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She also is working on a book about gender in the 21st century for Duke University Press.

Perry has published numerous articles in the areas of law, cultural studies and African American studies. She also wrote the notes and introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth.

Perry received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. From there, she went on to obtain both her J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

For more information on Imani Perry and her work, visit her Twitter page at www.twitter.com/imaniperry.