Janelle Hope (Syracuse University)
“Seeking Poetic Justice: Positioning Black Women and Queer Identifying Into the Black Power Historical Narrative”
Brownbag Presentation: February 7, 2014 / Noon / Tolley 304 / SU Humanities Center
The Black Power era historical narrative is especially male dominated, androcentric, and primarily comprised of biographies, autobiographies, and traditional archival materials. Thus, there is little room for the voices of women, queer identifying, and other marginalized groups. Scholars have begun to recognize this gap and have started creating a space for the history, stories, and voices of those groups. However, the few contributions that have been made continue to heavily rely on traditional research methods and sources of authentic knowledge. Poetry and performance qualitative research present an alternative way in which we can insert the voices of Black women and queer identifying men and women from the era into the historical narrative, as poetry and other artistic avenues were often spaces in which their voices were safe, respected, maintained, and often better appreciated. Therefore, it is essential to analyze and include these pieces into the history in order to better understand the totality of the Black Power era. In doing so, those marginalized within this history now have a rightful place within the narrative and simultaneously the argument and claim for the legitimacy of poetry as knowledge and a research method is reasserted. Overall, this work seeks to help reframe the understanding of the Black Power era by examining poetry by Black women and Black queer identifying men and women.
Jeanelle Hope is a native of Oakland, California; she completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach, earning a B.A. in History and Africana Studies. Currently, she is a graduate student and Teaching Assistant at Syracuse University working toward her M.A. in Pan African studies. Jeanelle’s ongoing thesis project is centered on interracial activism between African Americans and Asian Americans in the Bay Area during the Black Power era and the role of women within radical organizations of the period, specifically within the Black Panther Party and Chinese Red Guard. Much of her work takes a Black feminist approach and seeks to uncover the voices of women through oral history and archival research.