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BWC 2014

Finding Our Place: A Conference in Honor of the Work and Writings
of bell hooks

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20th Annual Black Women’s Conference: April 18-19, 2014
This year is the 20th convening of the Annual Black Women’s Conference.  In its history, there are few subjects of interest and important to the lives of Black women the conference has not explored.  As we celebrate this important year of the conference, we turn our attention to the work of a native daughter of Kentucky and preeminent feminist and intellectual, bell hooks.  Over the course of her career, hooks has been a leading thinker on the complexity of the positions of black women in American society and politics.  hooks continues to challenge  us with her current work to be both creative and thoughtful about understanding and making our place. Join us in celebrating the work of this important scholar and two decades of gathering black women in community.



Stephanie Troutman is the daughter of interracial, working class parents. Raised primarily by a single, low-income mother, Stephanie is a Black feminist scholar and first-generation college student. She received a Dual-PhD in Education and Women’s Studies from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011. A former high school and middle grades public school teacher, Stephanie currently serves as Assistant Professor of Leadership & Education Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Dr. Troutman is also involved in local activism. She serves on The School Board of Two Rivers Community School and is an active member of the Ashe and Watauga County NAACP. Stephanie also serves on the Governing Council of the National Women’s Studies Association and Co-Chairs The Women of Color Leadership Project. Her research interests include issues of race, gender, and sexuality in relation to both popular culture and schooling- including educational policies, curriculum and pedagogy, media and youth discourses on issues of identity. She is in the process of writing a book that links the politics of ‘the war on women’ to discourses of the U.S. as a ‘post-race’ society through critical, feminist analysis of several contemporary popular films. She is also the mother of ten-year old Melora and Rex, age seven: they inspire her to stay vigilant in the fight for social justice and to continue toward an ethic of deep, unconditional Love.

Lynnee Denise is a cultural producer and independent scholar who uses DJ culture to create forums exploring music of the African Diaspora. Her work is informed and inspired by the underground social movements, theories of escape, queer studies and afrofuturism. Lynnee is the founder of WildSeed Cultural Group, an organization whose mission is to provide “entertainment with a thesis.” Through an interdisciplinary approach, including podcasts and lectures, she examines the migration of Black cultural products, people and ideas. In 2011, Lynnee began developing the award winning Afro-Digital-Migration project, in which she travels, conducts ongoing research and produces events that celebrate the presence of house music in New York, Chicago, Detroit and South Africa. In 2012 she coined the term "DJ Scholarship" to explain how "diggin' in the crates" and "sample chasin'" are credible forms of academic research. In 2013, Lynnee partnered with Spelman College as the first DJ to present a seminar series titled: Music, Migration and Movement. The series highlighted the history of women in the music industry, culminating in a comparative study on the musical lives of Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill. Lynnee Denise is a product of the Historically Black Fisk University, and has a Master's degree from the historically radical San Francisco State University Ethnic Studies Department.  Listen to samples of her music here.

Imani Perry is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture using the tools provided by various disciplines including: law, literary and cultural studies, music, and the social sciences. She has published numerous articles in the areas of law, cultural studies, and African American studies, many of which are available for download at: She also wrote the notes and introduction to the Barnes and Nobles Classics edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Professor Perry teaches interdisciplinary courses that train students to use multiple methodologies to investigate African American experience and culture.  She is the author of several book: Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke University Press, 2004), Righteous Hope (New York University Press), and More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (New York University Press, 2011)

Judith Casselberry is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Bowdoin College, teaching courses on African American religious and cultural movements, with particular attention to gender. Professor Casselberry’s research and teaching interests include the anthropology of Black Americans in the United States, exploring “racial” authenticity, identity construction, and Black public cultures as they change over time; women, gender, and religion, examining ways women negotiate power within religious institutions that incorporate doctrines of female submission; and music and social movements, analyzing intersections of ethnicity, gender, and class in the formation of religious, spiritual, political, and social consciousness and the production of musical genres. For the 2012–13 academic year and fall 2013, she was a research associate in the Women's Studies in Religion Program (WSRP) at Harvard Divinity School, completing an ethnography, "Justified by Works: Gender, Faith and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism." She is also working on a project examining the transnational Pentecostal roots of Grace Jones.

Professor Casselberry, as a vocalist/guitarist, performs nationally and internationally with Toshi Reagon and BigLovely. Over the past seven years she has participated in European tours of “The Temptation of Saint Anthony,” directed by Robert Wilson with book and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon.

Asha French is a writer living in Atlanta, GA. She has a weekly column at and is currently working on her first collection of essays.

MiKeiya Morrow is a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kentucky and the creative developer of Speaking Spaces Org.  She earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice at Oklahoma City University and M.A. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Central Oklahoma.  MiKeiya's clinical interests includes sexual violence, child maltreatment, violence prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders.  MiKeiya's research agenda focuses on the primary prevention of child sexual abuse in African American girls.  She aspires to develop a child sexual abuse prevention model that targets the caregivers of African American girls.  MiKeiya can be reached at or

Rosalyn Robinson joined University of Kentucky this past year in June of 2013 as the Assistant Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity’s Martin Luther King Center and the Office of Student Involvement’s Diversity Education & Community Building. Rosalyn received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies at Ohio University in 2011. Rosalyn also completed a Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Miami University of Ohio in 2013.  Rosalyn is a diversity educator and facilitator. She strives to work towards social justice and acceptance in our daily lives. Rosalyn is passionate about topics such as leadership development, identity development, intersectionality, woman empowerment and many more.

Dr. Kaila Adia Story is an Associate Professor and the Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Departments of Women's & Gender Studies and Pan African Studies. Dr. Story’s research examines the intersections of race and sexuality, with special attention to black feminism, black lesbians, and black queer identity.

Her recent work "La-La’s Fundamental Rupture: True Blood’s Lafayette and the Deconstruction of Normal" in the anthology African Americans on Television: Race-ing for Ratings, explores the contested persona of the character Lafayette, and problematizes mediated messaging around Black, Gay, and Male embodiment and identity.

Dr. Story’s current work explores the intersections of Black Queer Studies and Pan African Studies; also Black Feminist theory’s relationship to Black Queer Theory.

bell hooks is Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she has chosen the lower case pen name bell hooks, based on the names of her mother and grandmother, to emphasize the importance of the substance of her writing as opposed to who she is. She is the author of over thirty books, many of which have focused on issues of social class, race, and gender. Her latest book is titled Belonging: A Culture of Place.

In a special issue of Appalachian Heritage (Summer 2008) on African Americans in Appalachia, bell hooks writes of the values of wildness, of renegade living. She suggests that her own “radical critical consciousness” was learned at home in a Kentucky community of African Americans from the backwoods about the need for freedom and the responsibility that comes with freedom. She concludes: Living by those values, living with integrity, I am able to return to my native place, to an Appalachia that is no longer silent about its diversity or about the broad sweep of its influence. While I do not claim an identity as Appalachian, I do claim a solidarity, a sense of belonging, that makes me one with the Appalachian past of my ancestors, black, Native American, white, all “people of one blood” who made homeplace in isolated landscapes where they could invent themselves, where they could savor a taste of freedom.

She is the author of almost thirty books that range from children's picture books like Happy to be Nappy (1999) to poetry collections like When Angels Speak of Love: Poems (1978) and essays, including Belonging: A Culture of Place (2008) and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (1991) with Cornel West.




Black Women's Conference: Finding Our Place: A Conference in Honor of the Work and Writing of bell hooks

Friday, April 18: 12-4:30pm in the Alumni Gallery, William T. Young Library
Friday, April 18: 6pm in the Lucille Little Black Box Theater, Fine Arts Bldg. 
Saturday, April 19: 9am-5pm in the Lyric Theater and Cultural Center
Saturday, April 19 7pm in the Lucille Little Black Box Theater, Fine Arts Bldg. 


Conference Schedule


Please join the African American and Africana Studies Program for the 20th Annual Black Women’s Conference.

Finding Our Place: A Conference in Honor of the Work and Writings of bell hooks

April 18 | 12:00-4:30pm Alumni Gallery, William T. Young Library
April 18 | 6:00pm, Lucille Little Black Box Theater, Fine Arts Bldg
April 19 | 9:00am-5:00pm, Lyric Theater and Cultural Center
April 19 | 7:00pm, Lucille Little Black Box Theater, Fine Arts Bldg

Friday, April 18, 2014 (University of Kentucky Campus)

bell hooks Reading Room (an exhibit of her works)
Alumni Gallery, William T. Young Library

Bone Black: A Student Roundtable on the work of bell hooks
Alumni Gallery, William T. Young Library


Anna Julia Cooper Lecture
Alumni Gallery, William T. Young Library

Stephanie Troutman (Appalachian State University)

"Fabulachia: ghetto fabulous, hood and (hip hop) feminist? in Appalachia"


Zora Neale Hurston Lecture:

DJ Lynee Denise

"Soulful Critical Thought: bell hooks and the Making of a DJ Scholar"

Lucille Little Black Box Theater
Fine Arts Building

Saturday, April 19, 2014 (Lyric Theater and Cultural Center)

Opening and Welcome

Mary McLeod Bethune Lecture

Dr. Imani Perry (Princeton University)


bell hooks as a Feminist handbook: A Panel on the Work in Practice

Myeiya Morrow ( PhD Candidate, University of Kentucky)
Rosalyn Robinson (Assistant Director, Martin Luther King Center and Diversity Education & Community Building)
Kaila Afrekete Story (Associate Professor and Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Louisville)

12:30 Lunch
2:00 Finding Place and Feminist Futures: A Conversation with bell hooks

Digging Deep: bell hooks and Engaging the Creative

Asha French

5:00 Dinner on your own

Doris Y. Wilkinson Distinguished Lecture

Judith Casselberry
Little Black Box Theater