WGST Lecture: Dr. Stephanie Rambo

WGST Lecture: Dr. Stephanie Rambo

The WGST Lecture Series is hosted by Women and Gender Studies to highlight faculty that have engaged in profound work at the intersections of race and gender. Our Spring 2024 speaker was Dr. Stephanie Rambo. She is an associate professor within the GMU English Department, and her research specializations include Black Girlhood Studies, Diasporic Black theory, African American literature, and women and gender studies. Dr. Rambo was also the recipient of this year’s Sojourner Truth Faculty Award for her remarkable scholarship, teaching, and activism at the intersection of race and gender.  
 
The event consisted of a lecture titled “Second Glances: Exploring Black Girls in Archives” where Dr. Rambo talked about her manuscript-in-progress that considers spatial and visual depictions of Black girlhood in African American literature through literary and photographic archives. The talk was followed by a short Q & A.  
 
During her lecture, Dr. Rambo discussed how Black girlhood is depicted in archival photographs, post cards, and mailing cards. She also detailed depictions of Black girlhood in selected literary fiction, including Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852). She evaluates the archival items using a process she calls “depicturing,” which involves giving a “second glance” to the images of Black girlhood. This process entails evaluating various elements, including the memory of the subject of the photograph, the original photographer’s intent, the intended audience for the photograph at the time it was taken, and the present-day researchers or onlookers. Her advice to students doing archival research is to be thoughtful and selective about the photographs or documents being reproduced and the message that these archival items evoke in a present-day audience.  
 
View more information about this event by clicking here. Learn more about Dr. Rambo by clicking here.