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Charis welcomes Dr. Moon Charania in conversation with Drs. Opal Moore and Wendy Simonds for a discussion of Archive of Tongues: An Intimate History of Brownness. In Archive of Tongues Moon Charania explores feminine dispossession and the brown diaspora through a reflection on the life of her mother.
Drawing on her mother's memories and stories of migration, violence, sexuality, queerness, domesticity, and the intimate economies of everyday life, Charania conceptualizes her mother's tongue as an object of theory and an archive of brown intimate life. By presenting a mode of storytelling that is sensual and melancholic, piercing and sharp, Charania recovers otherwise silenced modes of brown mothers' survival, disobedience, and meaning making that are often only lived out in invisible, intimate spaces, and too often disappear into them. In narrating her mother's tongue as both metaphor for and material reservoir of other ways of knowing, Charania gestures to the afflictions, limits, and failures of feminist, queer, and postcolonial scholarly interrogations and the consequences of closing the archive of the brown mother.
Moon Charania is an Associate Professor in International Studies at Spelman College and Affiliate faculty in Comparative Women’s Studies. Charania is a feminist theorist who researches and publishes in the area of transnational feminism, queer of color critique, psychoanalysis and postcolonial thought. She is author of Will the Real Pakistani Woman Please Stand Up: Empire, Visual Culture, and the Brown Female Body (McFarland 2015) and most recently, Archive of Tongues: An Intimate History of Brownness (Duke University Press 2023). She has held Fellowships at both Emory University James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference and the National Humanities Center. Charania has also recently been selected as a Fulbright Specialist to develop Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies programs across the Global South. She is beginning a new project on brownness and femicide.
Opal Moore is the author of Lot’s Daughters and text collaborator for Children of Middle Passage, a performance artwork conceived with visual artist Arturo Lindsay and jazz musician Joe Jennings. Moore, now retired from Spelman College, taught creative writing, African American literature and co-created and taught the first Women’s Studies seminar course on the radical Black feminist, lesbian, poet and writer, Audre Lorde and developed the senior seminar on the prolific and transformative womanist writer, Alice Walker.
Wendy Simonds is Professor of Gerontology and Sociology at GSU. She is the author of several books, including: Hospital Land USA: Sociological Adventures in Medicalization; Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic; Women and Self-Help Culture: Reading Between the Lines; co-author of Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States (with Barbara Katz Rothman and Bari Meltzer Norman); Centuries of Solace: Expressions of Maternal Grief in Popular Culture (with Rothman); and co-editor of Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader, now in its 5th edition. Simonds participated in research on the clinical trials of mifepristone in the 1990s that led to home medication abortion. She is currently doing research on cultural representations of the sexuality of old people and working on a play about sexual harassment in academia. Simonds has won mentoring awards from Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) and The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), as well as SSSP’s Doris Wilkinson Faculty Leadership Award.
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In Archive of Tongues Moon Charania explores feminine dispossession and the brown diaspora through a reflection on the life of her mother.
This series of absorbing case studies focuses on the portrayal of Pakistani women in the global media. Analyzing Hollywood films, British documentaries, newspapers and mainstream U.S. magazines, the book traces sensational female figures of Pakistan--all of whom have been subject to patriarchal violence--highlighting the imagery of exploitation and eroticism.
In Hospital Land USA, Wendy Simonds analyzes the wide-reaching powers of medicalization: the dynamic processes by which medical authorities, institutions, and ideologies impact our everyday experiences, culture, and social life. Simonds documents her own Hospital Land adventures and draws on a wide range of U.S.
Facing the polar forces of an epidemic of Cesarean sections and epidurals and home-like labor rooms, American birth is in transition. Caught between the most extreme medicalization -- best seen in a Cesarean section rate of nearly 30 percent -- and a rhetoric of women's "choices" and "the natural," women and their midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses labor on.