"I am most interested in uplifting the grassroots organizing and radical imaginaries of poor and working-class women of color whose collective models of transformative change are vital for inspiration in the present and to chart a new liberatory future. "
Born in South Africa and raised in the United States, Premilla Nadasen is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History at Barnard College and codirector of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. She is past president of the National Women’s Studies Association, the inaugural recipient of the Ann Snitow Prize, a former Fulbright Fellow, and a member of the Society of American Historians. She has been involved in grassroots social justice organizing for many decades and has published extensively on the multiple meanings of feminism, alternative labor movements, and grassroots community organizing. She is the author of two award-winning books, Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States and Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement. Her forthcoming book Care: The Highest Stage of Capitalism is due out in October 2023. She is currently writing a biography of South African singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, care work has been thrust into the national spotlight. The notion of care seems simple enough. Care is about nurturing, feeding, nursing, assisting, and loving human beings. It is "the work that makes all other work possible." But as historian Premilla Nadasen argues, we have only begun to understand the massive role it plays in our lives and our economy.
In her study of the welfare rights movement, Premilla Nadasen breaks new ground by tracing the history of a distinctive brand of feminism that emerged in the 1960s.
Telling the stories of African American domestic workers, this book resurrects a little-known history of domestic worker activism in the 1960s and 1970s, offering new perspectives on race, labor, feminism, and organizing.
This article reflects on a community-directed collaboration between students at a four-year liberal arts institution and a local organization in Mississippi to develop an index of women's economic security. It suggests that the collaborative nature of the course, as well as the relationship- and community-building witnessed in Mississippi offer counter-narratives to liberal individualism, southern conservatism, and the practice of social justice work.
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