Deirdre Cooper Owens on birthing while black

Deirdre Cooper Owens
ACT at MIT

This fall, ACT is co-sponsoring a lecture series as part of MAS.S63 | Black Mobility and Safety in the US I, a new course taught by Ekene Ijeoma, Director of the Poetic Justice Group at the MIT Media Lab.

On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, beginning at 2pm, Professor Deirdre Cooper Owens will join the class, and will be responding to the prompt of Birthing While Black.

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens is The Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also an Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer. Her first book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (UGA Press, 2017), offers insights into the history of birthing while Black in America and connects medical procedures that were developed during slavery with contemporary racialized healthcare practices. Professor Cooper Owens is also the Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest cultural institution. Professor Cooper Owens is a graduate of two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the all-women’s Bennett College and Clark Atlanta University. She earned her Ph.D. in history at University of California, Los Angeles, and has served as an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Fellow.

In this seminar and studio, Ijeoma will guide students to listen, learn, reflect and respond to issues around mobility (physical, mental, socio-economical, political, etc) and safety for Black Americans through words, images, and sounds that reference social science and anti-racist research. Weekly meetings will be organized around public lectures from guests ranging from designers and urban planners to activists and social scientists, and private individual presentations for the group.

Part of a two-semester course, Black Mobility and Safety in the US is organized into two-week topics around living while Black. The first semester (Fall 2020) will include: birthing, breathing, sleeping, eating, and walking; the second: learning, voting, driving, working, and loving. By the end of each semester, students will have the resources and tools to actively listen and respond critically to issues of Black mobility in the context of their own fields and their purposes.

Register for the lecture.