Grace Gipson at the National Council of Black Studies

06 Apr, 2017

Grace Gipson at the National Council of Black Studies

This spring, we were pleased to offer several grants to help support our students in sharing their research at the premiere conferences in their field. Below, Grace Gipson reflects on her experience at the National Council of Black Studies this March.

The future is now…this idea would become very clear as I prepared to participate in the 41st Annual Conference of the National Council of Black Studies conference in Houston, TX. The theme for this year’s conference was “Resistance: In Memory of the Houston Uprising of 1917, Defining Social Responsibility in the New Millennium.” This would be very appropriate as many of the conference panels, roundtable discussions, and plenary session particularly addressed the ‘Defining Social Responsibility in the New Millennium’ component.

Considering the academy, more specifically African American and Africana Studies, is constantly evolving and engaging in new work, I felt it more than appropriate to engage with my own definition of social responsibility in this new millennium. This definition came to light through my presentation entitled: “She is Here: Black and Female Bodies in the Future.” More specifically, my contribution to this definition engaged with various topics, which included social media activism through several Twitter hashtags, performance video and visual art, and the relationship between this notion of #BlackGirlMagic and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through the narrative of pre-teen Marvel Comics character Lunella Lafayette. Overall, my presentation engaged with giving voice to underrepresented Black and African diasporic female voices/narratives and the ways in which race, gender, technology, agency, and liberation intersect. Additionally, my presentation among others offered additional outlets to how we discuss different methods (past and present) of resistance and survival within today’s society. Thus, it became very clear during this conference the importance and the role of digital activism and how it aids in providing new perspectives surrounding civil rights and liberation.

NCBS this year would be a very engaging and insightful conference that helped to contribute some new knowledge towards my dissertation project, while also confirming its importance. As African American Studies continues to grow as a discipline, the conference this year showed how there are many opportunities to discuss the connections and burgeoning relationships between race and new media.