Courtesy Photo: Natasha Howard
Las Vegas, New Mexico – New Mexico Highlands presents African-American scholar Natasha Howard in a talk Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. as part of the university’s lecture series and Black History Month activities.
Howard, a professor in the Africana Studies Program at the University of New Mexico, will speak on the topic, “Finding Our Mother’s Gardens: Remembering Black Women’s Radical Acts of Wisdom.”
The free public talk will be in Highlands University’s Sininger Hall Room 100. Sininger is on the university’s Central Park, opposite Donnelly Library.
“There is a poem by Alice Walker titled In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, and in that poem she talks about how we as black women find the creative spirit our mothers and grandmothers were not able to express,” Howard said. “My talk is about how do black women remember that past, but also forge a new way into the future by learning from the creative energy of our foremothers.”
Howard said remembering itself can be a radical act, especially in today’s political climate when we are asked to forget so much.
“I’m approaching this topic as collective remembering, drawing upon the stories of black women in the United States and black women in Latin America. Collective memory can be the foundation for a social movement,” Howard explained.
Howard said her primary research focus is black feminism and critical race theory, the study of how racism becomes endemic within a society.
“I’m concerned with the subtle ways that anti-black discourse is part of everyday existence,” she said.
Howard earned her Ph.D. in educational thought and sociocultural studies from UNM in 2011. She also holds a master’s degree from UNM in Latin American studies with a focus on the black experience.
She teaches courses at UNM such as Critical Race Theory, Race and Globalization, Sociology of Black Communities, and Black Women in the African Diaspora.
“My classes are always ones that look at race relations from a global perspective, and I’m interested in comparative analysis,” Howard said.
“Dr. Howard is a young, vibrant and compelling scholar who is excited about her teaching and research,” said Gloria Gadsden, chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Highlands and a criminal justice professor. “She has a unique perspective of comparing and contrasting black women in Latin America with black women in the United States.”
Gadsden said the stories of African Americans seem to be missing from New Mexico.
“This talk gives Dr. Howard a chance to share some of these important and thought-provoking stories with our Highlands students and the community,” Gadsden said.
Gadsden said that Howard’s talk is part of a larger initiative spearheaded by Highlands President Sam Minner to reach out more to African-American students on campus.
“We want to retain and graduate our African American students, keeping them as part of the Highlands University family,” Gadsden.
Gadsden said students attending the talk will come from five Highlands University classes, including Introduction to Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, Social Problems, Criminology, and Institutional Corrections.
The talk will include time for audience questions and answers.