Archive for February, 2008

Black Feminism Anthology – France

Posted in En Français, Transnat'l Feminism/Solidarity on February 26, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler

1st anthology of Black Feminist Thought ever published in France.


“Why is there no equivalent to the black feminist movement in France, an ex-colonial power? These texts, by their vitality and their perspicacity, invite us to raise this question and to rethink the pretence of republican universalism–the blind spot of French feminism.”

Book Announcement, en Francais.

Uh, this is a trick question.  Just because European white feminists chose to marginalize and render invisible Black feminists does not been they do not exist. Fact is there has been a concerted and sustained effort by Black feminist (Black in a European context that may include other WOC) to organize, produce theory and work for social and political change.

Just so you know.

Upcoming in Skyeview – Paris, France

Posted in Travelogues on February 25, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler

(Photos from Colaba Causeway in Mumbai, India)


My Paris social committments with the sistahs
will be anything but “For Gents Only”.

No paparazzi please!

Stay tuned for news and photos from my mistress Paris.

Dispatch #14 – Bombay, India

Posted in Dispatches on February 24, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler


The One (photograph) That Got Away

I regret not being able to take the photograph of an Air France Bombay airport employee I met for the first time in 2006 and again on this trip. As I was moving through the departure gate for my Paris flight I heard a male voice behind me say, “I remember you!” I turned to see the chocolate brown Buddha shaven head smiling face of a 40’ish Indian fellow. I instantly recognized him as the brother who assisted me with my excess baggage in 2006.

On that trip upon noticing that my passport was issued in San Francisco, he mentioned something about Alice Walker living in the bay area. I teasingly asked, “What ‘chew know about Alice Walker?” He exclaimed, “I LOVE Alice Walker’s work!” He then rattled off all the titles he had read and asked me ” Have you read her books?” “And do you know Toni Morrison’s work?” “I loved reading Beloved and Sula.” We discussed the challenges we both experienced in reading “Song of Solomon” and the complexity and beauty of “Beloved.”

What an adventure! There I was in the wee hours of the morning in Bombay, India having this spontaneous discussion with a male airport employee. I was absolutely delighted by the exchange and was pleased to meet him again this year.

Jai Maa!

Race, Sex, Power: New Movements in Black and Latina/o Sexualities

Posted in Events on February 23, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler

fister.jpgI read with interest the following announcement. Passing it on.


Race, Sex, Power: New Movements in Black and Latina/o Sexualities
April 11-12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

Registration is now open!!!
Faculty from nine universities and colleges will hold the largest ever conference on black and Latina/o sexuality on April 11-12 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Race, Sex, Power: New Movements in Black and Latina/o Sexualities,” the culmination of more than two years of planning, will bring together academics, activists, and artists to address topics ranging from intimacy and desire to HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy to humor and Hip Hop.

Organizer Cathy Cohen, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, calls the conference “a bold effort to rethink what sexuality means for the two largest racial minorities in the US.”  Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the former United States Surgeon General appointed by President Clinton, will open the conference on Friday morning, April 11.

Sponsored by the participating universities with major funding from the Ford and Arcus Foundations, “Race, Sex, Power” aims to set a new agenda for studying, organizing, writing, and developing policy about sexuality.  Juan Battle, professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, argues that the conference is not only ambitious, but timely, as sexuality is central to current political debates. “Same-sex marriage, abstinence education, and abortion rights are all at the forefront.”

Marysol Asencio, associate professor of Family Studies/Puerto Rican and Latino/a Studies from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, adds that the demographic shifts in the US mean that “sexuality has to be confronted from the perspective of race, not merely to challenge the pathologies historically assigned to Latina/o and Black Americans, but to explore the dynamism and heterogeneity within these populations as well.”

The conference program takes sexuality and race in all their complexity. Panels and speakers selected from hundreds of submissions will cover, among other things: media, migration and immigration, religion and spirituality, sexual tourism, reproductive rights, transgender, community organizing, gay and lesbian civil rights, poverty, social class, age, and the sex industry.  Within the wide variety of approaches in both method and topic, a key idea emerges.  Sexuality can only be imagined in the context of communities that are embedded in a national and international context of changing sexual mores and deeply entrenched habits of thought and representation.

One of the hallmarks of this conference, Cohen stresses, is its emphasis on collaboration and inclusiveness. The complex coordination of nine institutions permitted organizers to draw on a pool of expertise that no one college or university could hope to contain. The unusual blend of research, activism, and art encourages all participants to think outside their personal assumptions and the conventions of their fields. Finally, the organizers hope to draw an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike. Asencio reminds us that knowledge about sexuality is hardly confined to those who make a profession of its study. Everyone, Asencio argues, is engaged in a critique of current sexual conventions. The conference is simply the space where such knowledge can be shared, rethought, and transformed.

LOCATION: UIC FORUM, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL

Chicago State University
Columbia College Chicago
DePaul University

The Graduate Center, CUNY
Northwestern University
Roosevelt University
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut at Storrs
University of Illinois, Chicago

Conference Website:

For more information, contact:

Travelogue – Bombay, India

Posted in Travelogues on February 21, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler

Gender Notions-Between A Rock And A Hard Place


The plight of women and girls in India can only be described as between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand women from middle class and affluent backgrounds are encouraged to pursue their ambitions without regard to their gender. Women can be found amongst the ranks of physicians, engineers, and even airline pilots. I have the impression that as long as a woman gets married and bears children her professions is of little consequence. I find it extremely odd that high level academic administrators, government officials and the like privilege “Mrs.” in their titles before all other titles they may hold including “Dr.”, “Commissioner” or even “The Honorable”.

The predicament and treatment of women and girls in the lower castes becomes even direr because they may carry the burden of the caste and perhaps a darker hue. Illiteracy influenced by patriarchy and misogyny can literally make for a deadly combination for many women in this country.

I have observed Indian children of both genders of varying backgrounds and caste fawned over and doted on by their parents and family members with such affection to a degree I don’t see in the states. But make no mistake about it male children are highly prized and femicide and foeticide in some parts of India have reached epidemic proportions.

It seems the primacy of males is taught from birth. While searching for educational toys for a group of Mahim district youth whom I first visited in 2005 and who seem to have adopted me in 2006, I spotted this children’s book for young children learning to read. Judging from the cover of the book I presumed it would appeal to both boys and girls. Imagine my indignation upon noticing the invisibility of girls in all the subject areas. But to my absolute dismay the section on word opposites included this photograph illustrating the difference between beautiful and ugly.


Nuff said.

Oleander Circle

Posted in Transnat'l Feminism/Solidarity on February 18, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler


Check out Oleander Circle, a new group of writers and lesbian artists from Trinidad & Tobago. Download project-oleander.pdf for more details.

Dispatch #13 – Greetings from Pune, India

Posted in Dispatches on February 15, 2008 by skyeviewtraveler


Sadly two bystanders were killed in the riot and there has been a mass exodus of over 10,000 North Indian migrant workers attempting to avoid the violence. It’s all political muckary and foolishiness. Westerners might be confounded by how Indians accept these types of events as being typical of the political environment and if possible won’t let it disrupt their daily routine. It’s all about timing and being well informed.

I weighed all the risks, checked in with my colleagues and friends, monitored the news reports and finally made the decision to trek to Pune. The flight to Bombay and Jet Airways coach ride to Pune was pleasantly uneventful.

I’m glad I made the decision to travel here because it provided another opportunity to confront my notions of safety and security and to see more of the landscape. It’s nice to return to Pune a laid back mid-size city.

The sunny weather of Bombay combined with a comfortable coach ride that included a feature length movie and snacks lulled me into a deep slumber. I almost missed getting off the coach because there weren’t any announcements and the coach attendants seemed reluctant to disturb me.

Jet Airways provided the coach service because the Pune airport is closed for revamping. Passengers were dropped off at various points in the city. I awoke one stop before the last one. And, without missing a beat I got off the coach and boarded an autorickshaw with luggage in tow to my hotel. Voila!



Fifty rupees is equivalent to $1.26 USD. Fifty rupees will purchase a 1-2 mile taxi ride. You KNOW the dollar is weak when the Indian rupee starts gaining on it!