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Black Feminist Politics
Book: Racially Writing the Republic


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Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag

Twenty-First Century Acts of Self-Definition

Hashtag or trademark, personal or collective expression, #BlackGirlMagic is an articulation of the resolve of Black women and girls to triumph in the face of structural oppressions. The online life of #BlackGirlMagic insists on the visibility of Black women and girls as aspirational figures. But while the notion of Black girl magic spreads in cyberspace, the question remains: how is Black girl magic experienced offline?

The essays in this volume move us beyond social media. They offer critical analyses and representations of the multiplicities of Black femmes’, girls’, and women’s lived experiences. Together the chapters demonstrate how Black girl magic is embodied by four elements enacted both on- and offline: building community, challenging dehumanizing representations, increasing visibility, and offering restorative justice for violence.

Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag shows how Black girls and women foster community, counter invisibility, engage in restorative acts, and create spaces for freedom. Intersectional and interdisciplinary, the contributions in this volume bridge generations and collectively push the boundaries of Black feminist thought.

Featured at the American Studies Association Conference

In 2019, Duchess Harris was invited by the University of Arizona Press to highlight Black Girl Magic at the annual American Studies Association meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.The theme was “Build as We Fight,” which opened up many valuable conversations about colonialism.

Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump

From “black girl magic” to Black Lives Matter, the second decade of the 21st century is defined by black feminist politics. Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump is a definitive investigation of the mainstreaming of black feminist politics in the 21st century. Following on the success of Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton and Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama, this volume incorporates the black women leaders of Black Lives Matter; contemporary black feminist political stars like Rep. Maxine Waters and Senator Kamala Harris; and the transformative influence of black feminist political strategy and principles in mainstream U.S. politics, especially in the 2016 U.S. election.


The text also deepens earlier editions’ consideration of sexuality and gender identity in black feminist politics and explores the role of digital organizing and social media in setting the terms of contemporary political struggles. A must-read for scholars in Political Science, American Studies, Africana Studies, History, and Gender/Feminist/Women’s Studies, Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump also breaks down the complexity of contemporary politics for an everyday reader eager to understand how black women have been defining leadership and politics since the mid-century.

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Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity

Racially Writing the Republic investigates the central role of race in the construction and transformation of American national identity from the Revolutionary War era to the height of the civil rights movement. Drawing on political theory, American studies, critical race theory, and gender studies, the contributors to this collection highlight the assumptions of white (and often male) supremacy underlying the thought and actions of major U.S. political and social leaders. At the same time, they examine how nonwhite writers and activists have struggled against racism and for the full realization of America’s political ideals. The essays are arranged chronologically by subject, and, with one exception, each essay is focused on a single figure, from George Washington to James Baldwin.

This book takes aim at a central dilemma of U.S. political history: how the promise of U.S. democracy – and of the “American dream” – has been integrally bound up with the ravages of American racism. We explore the gap between grand American ideals and the troubled American racial reality through the thorny efforts of two different groups of writer-activists to create American democracy and national identity: canonical thinkers and leaders, like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, and Samuel Gompers, who joined exalted ideals with white racism, and lesser known race rebels – such as Paiute activist Sara Winnemucca, Mexican Texan Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, Filipino writer Carlos Bulosan, and African American writer-activists Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin, who envisioned variously an anti-racist, egalitarian republic. While the canonical thinkers are deeply associated with constitutive “American” ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy, the race rebels worked courageously to reshape the promise of America beyond the confines of its racism.

With regard to the tribunes of America’s white republic, we do not simply dismiss their contributions – such as Jefferson’s declaration that “all men are created equal” or Sanger’s advocacy of women’s liberation. Rather, we wish to show how their beneficial ideas can be realized only by racially re-writing the republic – that is, by overcoming its racially exclusionary character. Simultaneously, we look to a set of anti-racist race rebels who improvised audaciously on the salutary parts of the American dream while vigorously contesting its oppressive manifestations. As race rebels, these thinkers struggled for social justice from perspectives that were explicitly informed by their own subordinate racialized identities. And yet, their visions of a good society – their not-yet-visible republic – are, in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous phrase, “deeply rooted in the American dream.”

Black Girl Magic


Michelle Obama's Impact on African American Women and Girls

Chapter 21, Michelle Obama Raising Black Daughters to Be Magic (Duchess Harris, Avi Thomas)


This edited collection explores how First Lady Michelle Obama gradually expanded and broadened her role by engaging in social, political and economic activities which directly and indirectly impacted the lives of the American people, especially young women and girls. The volume responds to the various representations of Michelle Obama and how the language and images used to depict her either affirmed, offended, represented or misrepresented her and its authors. It is an interdisciplinary evaluation by African American women and girls of the First Lady’s overall impact through several media, including original artwork and poetry. It also examines her political activities during and post-election 2016.

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Black Girl Magic: Gendered Black Politics in the 21st Century, (co-editor with Julia Jordan- Zachery)


Politics and Civil Unrest in America (You can run, but you can’t hide), The Teaching Books Blog (Feb. 2021)


Unlearning False Histories: A Rosa Parks Resource List for the Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, School Library Journal (Nov. 2020)


Seeing the ‘us’ in ‘This Is Us’, Insight News (April 2020)

Beyond Black History Month: Duchess Harris Explains the Historical Influence of Black Americans, School Library Journal, (Feb. 2020)


Brownbody: Politics on Ice, Walker Reader (April 2019)


Talking with Duchess Harris, Booklist (March 2019)


The books that prove black lives have always mattered in America, Guardian News (2015)

Addressing Torture in Our Own Backyard, The Human Rights Observer (2015)

Response to Black Women and Fat, The Huffington Post (2012)


Kathryn Stockett Needs Help, The Huffington Post (2011)

Alexis Pauline Gumbs: Technology Sister Insider, The Huffington Post (2011)

I Was Anita Hill, The Huffington Post (2010)

President Obama's Report Card, The Huffington Post (2010)

Are Michelle Obama or Gabourey Sidibe Our Only Role Models?, The Huffington Post (2010)

Shirley Sherrod for President, The Huffington Post (2010)

Elena Kagan's Cultural Competence Questioned, The Huffington Post (2010)

Incarcerated Motherhood: Precious in Real Life, The Huffington Post (2010)

Why Lord?, The Huffington Post (2010)

Barack Obama as Walter Lee Younger, Jr., Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (2008)


The Future of Black Feminism and Black Women Political Elites: A Reflexive Interview with Duchess Harris, Journal of Women, Politics and Policy (May 2022)

A Black Pedagogy Is an Engaged Pedagogy: How an American Studies professor went to law school and became a teacher for the twenty-first century, Public Seminary (Apr. 2022)

Bridging Generational Gaps through Out-of-Classroom Intergenerational Experiences, Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging (2017)

When your grandmother is hidden, Minnesota Women's Press (2017)

Black Lives Matter and the Price of the Ticket, Black Perspectives (2016)

Black Feminist Prison Politics, National Political Science Review, Volume 17:1 (2015)


Infiltrate What Exists, Innovate What Doesn’t”: Mentoring in the Academy, Leading By Example Parts 1 & 2,

The Feminist Wire (2014)

Co-editor with Susannah Bartlow and Stephanie Gilmore of the Beyond Critique forum, Introduction and Beyond the Beyond for The Feminist Wire  (April 7-14, 2014)

Incarcerated Motherhood, Touro Law Center’s Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Volume 6, Issue 1 (2012-2013)

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You:  Race, Class, and Access t o Genetic Cancer Testing with Christine Ohenewah, The Feminist Wire (2013)

Your Feminism Ain’t Like Ours, Because We Are Raising Quvenzhané, The Feminist Wire (2013)

Civil Rights Law and The Valley Swim Club: “Trouble the Waters” in the Age of Obama (with Craig Green and Keesha Gaskins), William Mitchell Law Raza Journal (2012)

Kathryn Stockett Is Not My Sister and I Am Not Her Help, JENdA: A Journal of Culture of African Women Studies (2011)

I did not attend Wednesday’s movie release of The Help from DreamWorks Pictures, based on…

The Help Leaves Her Longing for a More Authentic Story, JENdA: A Journal of Culture of African Women Studies (2011)

I had said I would not see the movie, The Help. I made that decision…

Book Review: This Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity, Journal of American History (2010)

This Violent Empire sheds important light on the dark historical schism between the aspirations of…

Orders Highlight Need for Diversity in Appointing Class Counsel, Litigation News (2010)

A federal district judge received considerable attention from litigators around the country as a result…

The State of Black Women in Politics Under the First Black President, The Scholar and Feminist Online Issue (2010)

It would be nice to think that Obama’s election was the positive end note to…

In-House Counsel’s Inactive Bar Status Causes Loss of Privilege, Litigation News (2010)

Ruling that a corporation did not take reasonable precautions to confirm in-house counsel’s authority to…

Opposing Party Ordered to Pay Expert Deposition Preparation Fees, Litigation News (2010)

The use of experts in litigation is common, and so are disputes over the payment…

“Clerk-Loaning” Program Sparks Ethical Debate, Litigation News (2009)

In today’s economic climate, the legal profession faces the same financial pressures all businesses do….

Courts Wrangle with Twittering by Jurors, Litigation News (2009)

The continuing improvement of search tools, proliferation of microblogging sites like Twitter, and increased use…

Computers to Replace Lawyers? Not Yet, Litigation News (2009)

Though “concept searching” may create efficiencies, developing the concept searches requires a team of individuals…


Review of Black Feminist Voices in Politics by Evelyn Simian, National Political Science Review (2007)

Review of Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 by Kimberly Springer, Journal of African American History (2006)

Negative Black American Stereotypes and Their Impact on Japanese Mindset and Behaviors, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal (2002)

Review of Critical race feminism: A Reader edited by Adrien Katherine Wing, Women & Politics (2002)

Multicultural Feminism Transforming Democracy, Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies (2002)

[Reprinted] Babylon is Burning, Or Race, Gender, and Sexuality at the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention (with Adam J. Waterman), Visiones Contemporaneas De La Cultura Y La Literature Norteamericana En Los Sesenta Universidad de Sevilla (2002)

The American Health Insurance Landscape: From Self-Insurance to Subsidies, Rationing, and Turmoil (with R Geist), Minnesota Medicine: A Journal of Critical and Health Affairs (2002)

Medical Inflation: New systems for controlling it (with R Geist), Minnesota Physician: The Independent Medical Business Newspaper (2001)

Multicultural Feminism Transforming Democracy, Macalester International (2000)

Babylon is Burning, Or Race, Gender, and Sexuality at the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention, Journal of Intergroup Relations (2000)

The Problem of the 21st Century: The Problem of the Dollar Sign, Black Issues in Higher Education (2000)

All of Who I Am in the Same Place: The Combahee River Collective, Womanist Theory and Research (1999)

Expanding Women’s Opportunities: Black Participation on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Journal of Intergroup Relations(1998)

Analyzing Racial Justice and Social Law, Journal of Intergroup Relations (1997)

Colin Powell’s American Journey: Not to the Capitol, but to Capital, Journal of Intergroup Relations (1997)

Reclaiming Culture or Commodifying Contempt?, American Quarterly (1996)

Review essay of Kenneth Goings’, Mammy and Uncle Mose: Black collectible and American Stereotyping and…

More Than Memorabilia? Khaila as Jezebel, Manny, and Sapphire in Losing Isaiah, COLORS: Opinion & the Arts in Communities of Color (1995)

Book Review: Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins, Canon: The Journal of the Rocky Mountain American Studies Association (1994)

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