Roland Mitchell, PhD, on Beyond Mammy, Jezebel, & Sapphire: Reclaiming Images of Black Women


Dr. Roland Mitchell, Associate Dean for Research & Academic Services in LSU’s College of Human Sciences & Education, will give a talk on the “Beyond Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire: Reclaiming Images of Black Women” exhibit at the Alexandria Museum of Art, 933 2nd St, Alexandria, LA 71301, at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

Mitchell wrote an essay for the Beyond Mammy catalog as a scholar specializing in race and education. He began it with a quote from Lisa Delpit, educator:

We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment—and that is not easy ... but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start the dialogue.

—Lisa Delpit, 2012

He challenges museum visitors to engage upon a culturally informed reclaiming of images of Black women as they view the pieces in the exhibit.

Read his essay, which begins on page 17, here.

This exhibit, curated jointly by the InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts Space at Colorado College and the Alexandria Museum of Art from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, features images of and by Black women. The exhibition examines the trope of the “Strong Black Woman,” uncovering the opportunities and dangers that this characterization creates for Black women. From the suffering mama, to the stoic victim, to the sassy broad – the images presented in the exhibition question and overturn entrenched archetypes of Black femininity. Frankly addressing idea such as frailty, sexualized power, and racially bounded ideals of beauty the exhibition presents us with compelling and nuanced examinations of multiple Black female identities and experiences.

Roland Mitchell is the Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Academic Services in the College of Human Sciences and Education at Louisiana State University. He teaches courses that focus on the history of higher education and college teaching and his research interests include theorizing the impact of historical and communal knowledge on pedagogy. Mitchell has authored numerous scholarly works that have appeared in leading educational journals. He is the Co-Editor of The Crisis of Campus Sexual Violence, which was awarded a 2016 Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) award and highlighted on the Top 25 Favorites list of the Choice editors. He is Co-Editor of the Lexington Press of Rowman and Littlefield book series Race and Education in the 21st Century, and Higher Education section editor of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. He serves as the director of the Louisiana Summit on African American Male Educational Success, is an advisory board member of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and for his ongoing service at meeting the needs of underrepresent populations in education, hehas been awarded the David A. Kahn Award for Exemplary Service, by the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition.

About the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education

The College of Human Sciences & Education, or CHSE, is a nationally accredited division of LSU. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer eight undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 2,020 undergraduate and 879 graduate students. The college is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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