Black Women in Politics

Demanding Citizenship, Challenging Power, and Seeking Justice

Edited by Julia S. Jordan-Zachery & Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

Subjects: African American Studies, Political Science, Public Policy, Women's Studies, Social Movements
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies, SUNY series in New Political Science
Hardcover : 9781438470931, 314 pages, September 2018
Paperback : 9781438470948, 314 pages, July 2019

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Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables

Black Women’s Political Labor: An Introduction
Julia S. Jordan-Zachery and Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

Part I: Black Feminists Doing Intersectionality Work

1. Why Political Scientists Don’t Study Black Women, but Historians and Sociologists Do: On Intersectionality and the Remapping of the Study of Black Political Women
Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd

2. “I Ain’t Your Darn Help”: Black Women as the Help in Intersectionality Research in Political Science
Julia S. Jordan-Zachery
Part II: Black Feminist Policy Analysis

3. The Politics of Black Women’s Health in the UK: Intersections of “Race,” Class, and Gender in Policy, Practice, and Research
Jenny Douglas

4. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women Felons Reentering Society
Keesha M. Middlemass

5. Lost Tribes: An Intersectionality-Based Policy Analysis of How US HIV/AIDS Policy Fails to “Rescue” Black Orphans
Julia S. Jordan-Zachery
Part III: Diasporic Black Women and the Global Political Arena

6. El pan, el poder y la politica: The Politics of Bread Making in Honduras’s Garifuna Community
K. Melchor Quick Hall

7. Woman Out of Place: Portia Simpson-Miller and Middle-Class Politics in Jamaica
Maziki Thame

8. “We Want to Set the World on Fire”: Black Nationalist Women and Diasporic Politics in the New Negro World, 1940–1944
Keisha N. Blain
Part IV: Discourses, Movements, and Representation

9. Morrisonian Democracy: The Literary Praxis of Black Feminist Political Engagement
Judylyn S. Ryan

10. Illegitimate Appetites: Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign as Sexual Regulation
Grace E. Howard

11. “We Always Resist: Trust Black Women”: Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Activism in the Wake of Health Care Reform
Tonya M. Williams


Examines how Diasporic Black women engage in politics.


This book explores how Diasporic Black women engage in politics, highlighting three dimensions—citizenship, power, and justice—that are foundational to intersectionality theory and politics as developed by Black women and other women of color. By extending beyond particular time periods, locations, and singular definitions of politics, Black Women in Politics sets itself apart in the field of women's and gender studies in three ways: by focusing on contemporary Black politics not only in the United States, but also the African Diaspora; by showcasing politics along a broad trajectory, including social movements, formal politics, public policy, media studies, and epistemology; and by including a multidisciplinary range of scholars, with a strong concentration of work by political scientists, a group whose work is often excluded or limited in edited collections. The final result expands our repertoire of methodological tools and concepts for discussing and assessing Black women's lives, the conditions under which they live, their labor, and the politics they enact to improve their circumstances.

Julia S. Jordan-Zachery is Director of Black Studies and Professor of Public and Community Service at Providence College. She is the author of Black Women, Cultural Images, and Social Policy and Shadow Bodies: Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics. Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd is Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Political Science at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. She is the author of Gender, Race, and Nationalism in Contemporary Black Politics.


"…an important edited collection … Black Women in Politics challenges United States-based political scientists to undertake a radical project of disciplinary transformation. " — New Political Science

"Black Women in Politics offers a new perspective on Black women as political actors. Jordan-Zachery and Alexander-Floyd have assembled a stellar group of essays that speak to the broad experiences and concerns of Black women as political actors. Together, the essays present a compelling story of what we learn when we center Black women's voices in policy debates, democratic theory, and notions of political leadership. " — Wendy Smooth, The Ohio State University