Graduate Colloquium: SaraEllen Strongman (Africana Studies) and Natalie Shibley (Africana Studies/History)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 9:30am

Please join us on Wednesday, March 23 in the seminar room on the second floor of 3810 Walnut Street for our graduate colloquium featuring SaraEllen Strongman (Africana Studies) and Natalie Shibley (Africana Studies/History). 

SaraEllen Strongman (Africana Studies)
"The Struggle for Solidarity: Black and White Women in Alice Walker's Meridian"

This paper reads Alice Walker's novel Meridian as text that documents black women's experiences of leadership during the Civil Rights Movement while simultaneously exploring the gendered conflicts that existed within the Movement. Specifically, I examine Walker's representation of the novel's main character's relationship with the white woman Lynn Rabinowitz to argue that Walker’s work bridges the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation Movements by tracing how black women negotiated the politics of gender, sexuality, and race during this turbulent era, narrating a pre-history of the conflicts that were to come between white and black women with the rise of the Women's Liberation Movement.

Natalie Shibley (Africana Studies/History)
"The U.S. Army and Venereal Disease Control at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona during World War II"

The U.S. Army during World War II struggled to limit the number of service members affected by venereal disease, seeking to reduce time lost to illness. Racial disparities in the number of soldiers infected with venereal disease were a particular concern. This paper explores Army efforts to decrease venereal disease infection rates at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, an installation with a high number of African American military personnel during the war (including the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions), and, due to racial segregation, a hospital with an entirely African American staff. Since Ft. Huachuca was a site where both male and female personnel were stationed and where many civilians worked and lived, it also presents an opportunity to illustrate how Army venereal disease control policy drastically differed for men and women. Using Inspector General records, statistical reports, the memos of Army officials, Army newspapers, civilian press accounts, and other sources, I describe efforts to prevent personnel from contracting venereal diseases, to treat soldiers who had contracted these diseases, and to track individuals who had been accused of having been sources of infection. The paper argues that ideas about race and gender fundamentally shaped venereal disease prevention and treatment in the Army and specifically at Ft. Huachuca.