“The Heart of the Collective”: Black Left Feminism, Black Women’s Intellectual History and Freedomways Magazine, 1930-1985

Eglen, Lauren (2022) “The Heart of the Collective”: Black Left Feminism, Black Women’s Intellectual History and Freedomways Magazine, 1930-1985. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis is the first to explore Freedomways: A Quarterly Review of the Freedom Movement through the lens of its women editors, as a Black feminist intellectual project that expands understanding of Black intellectual history and Black feminism. As activist-intellectuals, Esther Cooper Jackson, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Jean Carey Bond, and other women in the Freedomways collective shaped the magazine’s content and editorial outlook in line with their established political viewpoints, and from their distinct intellectual approaches. The magazine was the way that these women sustained their Black Left feminist politics that they had developed in the 1930s and 1940s Popular Front period, crafting it as a platform for leftist women’s ideas and analyses of the global freedom struggle that could influence a new generation of feminist activists and writers with whom they built inter-generational relationships.

Their politics and intellectualism were grounded in a Black feminist epistemological understanding of lived experience as a criterion for meaning making through which they reconciled theory and praxis, and the personal and political, in their thinking and activism. Experiences acquired through study, activism, and travel shaped their editorship of the magazine that amplified women’s activist voices in grassroots reportage, essays, conference reports, travel accounts, art, poetry, and literature. Through editing and writing for Freedomways, they collaborated on a platform that should be recognized for how it has contributed to Black women’s intellectual history, highlighting women as writers, journalists, activists, academics, playwrights, composers, and as editors. A Black Left feminism was always at the center of that project, and in print it sustained them and other women as thinkers and activists.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ling, Peter
Monteith, Sharon
Rottenberg, Catherine
Keywords: Freedomways: A Quarterly Review of the Freedom Movement, journals, periodicals, magazines, editors, feminism
Subjects: H Social sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and literature > PS American literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of American and Canadian Studies
Item ID: 67499
Depositing User: Eglen, Lauren
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/67499

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