Charis welcomes Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans in conversation with Dr. Layli Maparyan for a celebration of Black Women's Yoga History: Memoirs of Inner Peace. This intellectual history expands conceptions of yoga and defines inner peace as mental health, healing, and wellness that is both compassionate and political. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.
How have Black women elders managed stress? In Black Women's Yoga History, Stephanie Y. Evans uses primary sources to answer that question and to show how meditation and yoga from eras of enslavement, segregation, and migration to the Civil Rights, Black Power, and New Age movements have been in existence all along. Life writings by Harriet Jacobs, Sadie and Bessie Delany, Eartha Kitt, Rosa Parks, Jan Willis, and Tina Turner are only a few examples of personal case studies that are included here, illustrating how these women managed traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. In more than fifty yoga memoirs, Black women discuss practices of reflection, exercise, movement, stretching, visualization, and chanting for self-care. By unveiling the depth of a struggle for wellness, memoirs offer lessons for those who also struggle to heal from personal, cultural, and structural violence.
Stephanie Y. Evans, Ph.D. is a Professor of Black Women's Studies and Director of the Institute for Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University. Her research interest is Black women's intellectual history, specifically memoirs, mental health, and wellness. At GSU, she is affiliate faculty in the Department of African-American Studies as well as in the Center for the Study of Stress, Trauma and Resilience. She is author of three books: Black Women's Yoga History: Memoirs of Mental Health and Wellness (SUNY, 2021); Black Passports: Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment (SUNY, 2014) and Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History (UF, 2007) as well as lead co-editor of four books, including Black Women's Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability (SUNY Press, 2017). She is editor of the Black Women's Wellness book series at SUNY Press. Her full portfolio is available online at http://www.professorevans.net/.
Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., is the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She has published two groundbreaking books in the field of womanist studies, namely, The Womanist Reader (Routledge, 2006) and The Womanist Idea (Routledge, 2012), with a third book, Womanism Rising, forthcoming. She is a current Fulbright Specialist and has served previously as a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Liberia, with other international projects in West Africa and India. Previously, she held a Contemplative Practice Fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, which supported travel to Plum Village in France and the development of a signature course, Womanist Perspectives on Spiritual Activism. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women, and is an active member of the Baha’i Faith.
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Black Women and Social Justice Education explores Black women's experiences and expertise in teaching and learning about justice in a range of formal and informal educational settings.
This book offers a unique, interdisciplinary, and thoughtful look at the challenges and potency of Black women's struggle for inner peace and mental stability.