Black History Month: The politics of ‘race’ and gender (16th October)

Taking Soundings is pleased to be working again with the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett (formerly Metropolitan) University on an event in Black History Month. Dr Emily Marshall has invited Dr Shirley Tate and Dr Robin Bunce to lead discussions on black politics and feminism.

The event will take place on Thursday 16th October 2014.

The talks will start at 6pm in Room CC RB444 Lecture Theatre C, Rose Bowl, Leeds Met/Beckett University, Portland Crescent, Woodhouse Lane, LS1 3HB.

Dr Shirley Anne Tate will speak on ‘Michelle Obama’s arms: ‘race’, respectability, class privilege’.


Dr Tate is an Associate Professor in Race and Culture and PGRT. She is Director of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Leeds. She is particularly interested in exploring the intersections of ‘raced and gendered bodies,  ‘race’ performativity, ‘mixed race’ and decoloniality within the Black Atlantic diasporic context.
 Her first book Black Skins, Black Masks: Hybridity, Dialogism, Performativity was focused on ‘race’ performativity, ‘mixed race’ and on going beyond hybridity theorising.

 Her second book Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics looks at beauty within the Black Atlantic diaspora as affect-laden, performative ‘race’ work that continues to impact on identities and communal politics but which is continuously being deconstructed and reshaped through stylization.

Dr Robine Bunce will speak on ‘Darcus Howe and Black Power in  Britain, 1967-1975.’


Dr Robin Bunce is a historian of political thought based at Cambridge University. He is currently Director of Studies for Politics at Homerton College, and a Fellow in History at St Edmund’s College. His most recent work focuses on Black Power as an ideology and a movement in Britain. His recent book, co written with Paul Field, Darcus Howe: a Political Biography, examines the life of one of Britain’s most prominent black intellectuals and radicals. He is currently working on a history of the British Black Panther Movement.


Demonstrators supporting the Mangrove Nine, including Darcus Howe, who were on trial at the Old Bailey in 1971. Howe successfully defended himself in what became the prototype for black self-defence legal struggles.


Pragna Patel on ‘Religious Fundamentalism, Multi-faithism and the Gender Question’

Here is the text of the important speech given by Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters, at the Taking Soundings meeting on 13th November 2013. We can’t do justice to the lively discussion, but the text (inserted below) repays careful reading, as Pragna denounces the legitimation offered under the banner of ‘multi-faithism’ to fundamentalist forms of religion which are hostile to women’s human rights. We are very grateful to Pragna for supplying us with this text and we hope it gets widely circulated. Click here to download: Pragna Patel 13 Nov 2013 final

And here is an iPhone photo of Pragna, with Zoe Courtney-Bodgener, who chaired the event, on her left:



And now, thanks to Dan Clayton, you can watch Pragna’s speech and her response to the discussion on YouTube (it’s quite long, but it’s worth it).


Women in Science & Technology Exhibition

Celebrating over 100 years of Activism in Women in Science and Technology

International Women’s Day Exhibition: 8th March 2013

Who was Caroline Herschel? Jane C Wright? Rosalind Franklin? Should we know who they were? As 18th century astronomer, physician and pioneer chemotherapist, and unsung biophysicist colleague of double helix discoverers Crick and Watson, they are but three of the many women high achievers but unacknowledged in the field of science and technology for centuries up to the present.

A rich collection of fascinating materials from campaigns and initiatives from the Women’s Engineering Society (established in 1918) through the WISE campaign of 1984 to the Bradford based UK Resource Centre (1991).

You are invited to an exhibition hosted by the Feminist Archive North (FAN): The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) > Exhibition on Women in Science and Technology

Location: The Brotherton Room, Special Collections, 1st Floor, Brotherton Library, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds.

Exhibition open 11.00 – 4.00

Drop-in guided tours by FAN volunteers who were active in these campaigns 12.00 – 2.00