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Telling HistoriesBlack Women Historians in the Ivory Tower$
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Deborah Gray White

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832011

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889121_white

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Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone

Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone

Chapter:
(p.240) Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone
Source:
Telling Histories
Author(s):

Barbara Ransby

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807889121_white.20

This chapter discusses the meaning of being a black female historian in 2006. Some argue that it should simply mean being a good scholar, and that notions of race and gender are twentieth-century anachronisms which obscure more than they illuminate. Barbara Ransby's experience, and that of hundreds of other female historians of African descent working and struggling in the academy, tells a very different story. It is a story that reflects slow, erratic progress but also persistent, intractable prejudice augmented by the precedent of generations of institutional racism. It is a story about the sluggish, painful reconfiguration of a profession and its practitioners. African American women currently teaching in history departments at four-year colleges, community colleges, and high schools; working in museums, foundations, publishing houses, and nonprofit organizations; and working independently reflect a myriad of personal and career choices mapped out on the rugged and ever-shifting landscape of what is referred to inclusively as the historical profession.

Keywords:   black female historian, good scholar, race, gender, twentieth-century anachronisms, historical profession

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