Friday, November 21, 2008

Sisters, Science, & Visual Possibilities

Why is it so difficult finding photographic images featuring black women as leaders, as scientists, and as academic experts around campus and in mainstream media outlets? How would an increased presence of such images shift our views?

Adrienne, one of our black studies affiliates, and I have been asking those kinds of questions lately. We’ve been wondering about the ways that visual representations can influence perceptions about black women.

As an additional point to the discussions we were having, Adrienne sent along the above photograph of Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. Ericsson-Jackson currently works as an aerospace engineer at NASA. “I thought this photograph was interesting,” observed Adrienne, “because it shows her at work and in a leading position.”

Maybe the conversations we’re having will form the basis of a future Black Studies program. In the meantime, we’ll present some of what we are covering on the subject here.

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