Kimberly Brown, Women’s & Gender Studies and Literature

[I]f you study slavery, you study everything; you study labor, production, reproduction, gender, race, everything is located there. So I think what institutions…can do is to have very different disciplinary frameworks [of study] to look at the same archive [of slavery and its history]. What we find together there might be a spectacular production.

KIMBERLY JUANITA BROWN - at Georgetown University's 2016 Emancipation Day Symposium

 

Kim Brown at conference

Kimberly Brown on Erykah Badu's “Window Seat” at the the Black Portraitures II Conference in Florence, Italy, 2015. Photo: Nikki A. Greene.

 

Visiting Assistant Professor 2017-2018
Hosted by Women's & Gender Studies and by Literature at MIT

Kimberly J. Brown is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

Research interests: Feminist theories of the Black Diaspora; Contemporary Narrative and Photography; Slavery and the Body in Contemporary Culture; Visual Culture of the Americas; and Cultural Representations of Violence and Memory.

2017-2018 Scholars

The Repeating Body

Haunted by representations of black women that resist the reality of the body's vulnerability, Kimberly Juanita Brown traces slavery's afterlife in black women's literary and visual cultural productions. Brown draws on black feminist theory, visual culture studies, literary criticism, and critical race theory to explore contemporary visual and literary representations of black women's bodies that embrace and foreground the body's vulnerability and slavery's inherent violence. She shows how writers such as Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, and Jamaica Kincaid, along with visual artists Carrie Mae Weems and María Magdalena Campos-Pons, highlight the scarred and broken bodies of black women by repeating, passing down, and making visible the residues of slavery's existence and cruelty. Their work not only provides a corrective to those who refuse to acknowledge that vulnerability, but empowers black women to create their own subjectivities. In The Repeating Body, Brown returns black women to the center of discourses of slavery, thereby providing the means with which to more fully understand slavery's history and its penetrating reach into modern American life.


Their Dead Among Us: Photography, Melancholy, and the Politics of the Visual (in progress)

“Mortevivum/Sempervivum,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 28:3, Archives of
Erasure, Fall 2017.

Co-editor (with Jared Sexton), Catalyst Journal Special Issue: “Nothing/More: Black Studies &
Feminist Technoscience,” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, Issue 2, Vol. 2, Fall 2016.

The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary (Duke University Press, 2015).

“Saving Mr. Jefferson: Slavery and Denial at Monticello” in Ethical Confrontations with Antiblackness:
Africana Studies in the 21st Century, eds. Tryon Woods and P. Khalil Saucier (Africa World
Press, 2015).

“Entering Through the Body’s Frame: Precious and the Subjective Delineations of the Movie
Poster” in Contemporary Black Female Sexualities, eds. Trimiko Melancon and Joanne Braxton (Rutgers University Press, 2015).

“Regarding the Pain of the Other: Photography, Famine, and the Transference of Affect,” in
Feeling Photography, eds. by Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu (Duke University Press, 2014).

Review of For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights by Maurice Berger
and Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography by Martin A. Berger, CAA
Reviews, 2012

“Black Rapture: Sally Hemings, Chica da Silva and the Revolving Body of Sexual Supremacy,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1//2 The Sexual Body, Spring/Summer 2007, pp. 45-66

“Nanny of the Maroons: History, Memory, and Imagery,” Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale
University, 2005.

Kimberly Juanita Brown is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Mount Holyoke College. She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of feminist theory, literature and visual culture studies (particularly photography). Her research engages: Feminist theories of the Black Diaspora; Contemporary Narrative and Photography; Slavery and the Body in Contemporary Culture; Visual Culture of the Americas; and Cultural Representations of Violence and Memory.

Brown earned a B.A. (magna cum laude, 2000) in English and Africana Studies from Queens College, City University of New York. At Yale University, she earned degrees in American Studies (M.A., 2002); African American Studies (M.A., 2003); African American Studies and American Studies (M.Phil., 2004); Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (Certificate, 2006); and African American Studies and American Studies (PhD, 2006). Yale recognized Brown's dissertation work with a Sylvia Ardyn Boone Prize (Dissertation) and a John Perry Miller Award for Dissertation Research.

In response to the need for collaboration and community among black scholars, Brown founded and continues to organize a group of over 40 faculty members of color from across the nation in a virtual and physical research group called “The Dark Room” to read and discuss the latest research and thought in visual studies and critical race theory.

Brown's most recent book, The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary (Duke University Press), examines slavery’s profound ocular construction and the presence and absence of seeing in relation to the plantation space and the women who exist there. Brown is currently at work on her second book, tentatively titled Their Dead Among Us: Photography, Melancholy, and the Politics of the Visual, which examines images of the dead in The New York Times in 1994 from four geographies: South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, and Haiti.

Brown, who is fluent in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, is a member of the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association. She has held visiting appointments and fellowships at Harvard University, Brown University, Northeastern University, the CUNY Graduate Center, Rice University, and Yale University.

At MIT, Brown previously served as an Instructor from 2013 to 2014 in the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Society, where she was also Visiting Scholar from 2015 to 2017.

MIT Women's & Gender Studies and Literature will host Brown as a 2017-18 MLK Visiting Assistant Professor.

Kimberly Brown discusses her book, The Repeating Body: Slavery's Visual Resonance in the Contemporary on April 18, 2016 at the DC Emancipation Day Symposium hosted by the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. 

Kim Brown at Feminists Unbound

Kimberly Brown (far left) and fellow panelists at "Feminisms Unbound," February 2016. Co-organized by Brown, the event featured conversations among Boston-area feminist intellectuals and activists. Photo: Jyoti Puri


Co-Organizer (with Lisa Lowe and Jyoti Puri) - Feminisms Unbound, a speaker series for
the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Society, 2014-Present

Visiting Scholar - Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Society, 2015-2017

Instructor- Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Society, 2013-2014

  • Workshop for Dissertation Writers in Women’s and Gender Studies, Fall 2013—Spring 2014
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