Black Feminist Health Studies (BFHS)

Diana Louis, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and American Culture, and Ava Purkiss, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and American Culture

The Black Feminist Health Studies (BFHS) faculty led program seeks to bring together diverse speakers and researchers working in the emerging field of black feminist health sciences. This faculty led program would enable participants to more clearly define a new mode of inquiry on health and society. To this end, we will explore several questions over the course of the next two years: What is a black feminist approach to health? What are the key terms, methodologies, parameters, and theoretical stakes associated with a BFHS field? How can a black feminist health science expand our collective research inquires on wellness, inequality, and society?  Finally, how can this field contribute to broader efforts for social justice concerning the health, wellness, and longevity of the most vulnerable communities?

We believe addressing health disparities requires a robust research agenda that bridges the humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences.  As an interdisciplinary group we are prepared to examine how structural issues like access to affordable healthcare, housing, and transportation along with cultural and historical notions about medicine and racial bias in the medical system shape the health prospects of women, poor people, and people of color. Grounded in black feminist theory, our collective research seeks to understand how the interlocking systems of racism, ableism, poverty, violence, and sexism influence the embodied health experiences of people of African descent.