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Charis welcomes Bettina Judd in conversation with Opal Moore for a discussion of Feelin: Creative Practice, Pleasure, and Black Feminist Thought. How creativity makes its way through feeling—and what we can know and feel through the artistic work of Black women.
Feeling is not feelin. As the poet, artist, and scholar Bettina Judd argues, feelin, in African American Vernacular English, is how Black women artists approach and produce knowledge as sensation: internal and complex, entangled with pleasure, pain, anger, and joy, and manifesting artistic production itself as the meaning of the work. Through interviews, close readings, and archival research, Judd draws on the fields of affect studies and Black studies to analyze the creative processes and contributions of Black women—from poet Lucille Clifton and musician Avery*Sunshine to visual artists Betye Saar, Joyce J. Scott, and Deana Lawson.
Feelin: Creative Practice, Pleasure, and Black Feminist Thought makes a bold and vital intervention in critical theory’s trend toward disembodying feeling as knowledge. Instead, Judd revitalizes current debates in Black studies about the concept of the human and about Black life by considering how discourses on emotion as they are explored by Black women artists offer alternatives to the concept of the human. Judd expands the notions of Black women’s pleasure politics in Black feminist studies that include the erotic, the sexual, the painful, the joyful, the shameful, and the sensations and emotions that yet have no name. In its richly multidisciplinary approach, Feelin calls for the development of research methods that acknowledge creative and emotionally rigorous work as productive by incorporating visual art, narrative, and poetry.
Bettina Judd is an interdisciplinary writer, artist and performer whose research focus is on Black women's creative production and our use of visual art, literature, and music to develop feminist thought. Her book Feelin: Creative Practice, Pleasure, and Black Feminist Thought (Northwestern University Press, December 2022) argues that Black women’s creative production is feminist knowledge production produced by registers of affect she calls “feelin.” She is currently Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington.
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.
Moore’s poems, stories and essays are published in various journals and anthologies including Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women’s Humor and Furious Flower: Seeding the Future Of African American Poetry. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Review, The Connecticut Review, Callaloo, the Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. Opal is a Fulbright scholar, Cave Canem fellow and Bellagio fellow. She serves as poetry editor for The Art Section: An Online Journal of Art and Commentary and fiction editor for Obsidian: Literature & the Arts in the African Diaspora. She is a founding Board member of the Wintergreen Women’s Writer’s Collective—35 years of Black women supporting one another’s creative production.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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How creativity makes its way through feeling—and what we can know and feel through the artistic work of Black women
Feeling is not feelin.