History Department
History Department

Ashley D. Farmer


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., Harvard University

Ashley D. Farmer

Contact

  • Phone: 512-475-7230
  • Office: GAR 2.148
  • Office Hours: Fall 2019: W 1:30-3:30pm. Note: All office hours take place in GWB 3.200J (Gordon-White building)
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Interests


African American History, African American Women’s History, Black Political Thought.

Biography


Dr. Ashley D. Farmer is a historian of Black women's history, intellectual history, and radical politics. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and African and African Diaspora Studies. Her book, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era  (UNC Press, 2017), is the first comprehensive study of black women's intellectual production and activism in the Black Power era.  She is also the co-editor of New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (NUP Press, 2018), an anthology that examines four central themes within the black intellectual tradition: black internationalism, religion and spirituality, racial politics and struggles for social justice, and black radicalism. 

Farmer's scholarship has appeared in numerous venues including The Black Scholar and The Journal of African American History. Her research has also been featured in several popular outlets including VibeNPR, CSPAN, and The Chronicle Review.

Dr. Farmer has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Research on Women and Politics at Iowa State University, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have also supported her research. She has also been a leader of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) and a regular blogger for Black Perspectives.

Farmer earned her BA from Spelman College, an MA in History and a PhD in African American Studies from Harvard University.  She is also the Co-Editor and Curator of the Black Power Series with Ibram X. Kendi, published with NYU Press and tweets from @drashleyfarmer.

Courses


HIS 317L • Intro Afr Amer Women's Hist-Wb

37994 • Fall 2020
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM
Internet
CDWr HI (also listed as AFR 310)

This lecture course examines the experience of African American women in American history. It is designed with the idea that there is not one singular experience of black women in America, but rather a multitude of black women’s voices and perspectives that comprise this history. We will explore black women’s experiences across class, regional, and organizational lines. Themes and issues will include family life, work, political activism, and sexuality. The course will focus on how white and black Americans have attempted to control and represent African American women. We will also foreground how African American women have articulated their perspectives, needs, and emancipatory goals.

HIS 392 • Race And Medicine-Wb

38409 • Fall 2020
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM
Internet
(also listed as AFR 380P)

This course explores how race has played an outsized role in the history and practice of American medicine. The course examines the historical context out of which racist medical practices arose and how modern medical training has perpetuated these inaccuracies in both scholarship and clinical training. This interdisciplinary class will familiarize students with modern African American history and modern medical literature with the goal of critically engaging them in questions of race, ethnicity, biology, and medical treatment. It will be open to graduate students as well as students at the Dell Medical School.

Readings:

  • Harriet A. Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present 
  • Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
  • Keith Wailoo, How Cancer Crossed the Color line 
  • Diedre Cooper Owens, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology
  • Lundy Brawn, Breathing Race into Machines:The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics 
  • Vence L. Bonham, JD; Eric D. Green, MD, PhD; Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, “Examining How Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry Data Are Used in Biomedical Research,” Journal of the American Medical Association, September 24, 2018 
  • Dorothy Nelkin, PhD, “Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South.” Journal of the American Medical Association,August 2, 1995
  • V. Wiesenthal, M.D.,Case of a Negro Whose Skin Has Become White,” The New England Journal of Medicine, January 1, 1819.

All other materials available via CANVAS

Grading:

  • Presentation/ Discussion leading- 15%
  • Class Attendance and Participation- 15%
  • Personal Race/Medicine Reflection 15%
  • Weekly Reflections 20%
  • Annotated Bibliography- 10%
  • Final Paper- 25%

HIS 317L • Intro To African Amer Hist

38089 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.132
CD HI (also listed as AFR 317D)

This course is largely designed to introduce students to the major themes, issues, and debates in African American history from its African origins until today. It serves as a general introduction to the historical literature by providing lower division undergraduate students with an overview of the African American experience through readings, lectures, film, and music. Some of the specific topics covered include African antecedents, colonial and antebellum slavery, the abolition movement, the free black experience, the Civil War, emancipation, Jim Crow segregation, racial violence, black culture, the modern freedom struggle, popular culture, political movements, and the contemporary experience. Ultimately, students should gain an understanding of how enslaved and free African Americans lived, worked, socialized, and defined themselves in American society. 

Course Objectives:
Students will have the opportunity to write essays and take multiple-choice and short answer exams in this course. Using this combination of testing strategies, one goal of the class is to facilitate students’ LEARNING of African American history rather than the memorization of relevant names, dates, and events. The professor recognizes the importance of knowing key figures and events; however, the primary objective is to help students develop a solid understanding of the political, social, economic, and personal lives of African Americans from their arrival through today. 

This course carries the flag for Cultural Diversity in the United States
Fikenbine, Ray ed. Sources of the African American Past: Primary Sources in American History (2nd Edition), 2003.

Texts:

Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Freedom On My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents – Combined Volume

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision 

All other readings available on CANVAS

Grading:

Class Participation/History “Labs” 15%

Midterm Exam 20%

Final Exam 25%

Primary Document Analyses (2)- 20%

Freedom Reflections (2) – 20%

HIS 392 • Black Women's Intellectual His

38530 • Fall 2019
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GAR 1.122
(also listed as AFR 381, WGS 393)

This goal of this course is to explore the historiography of black women’s thought from Early America to the present day. Throughout the course, we will trace the ideological continuities and disjunctures in the texts black women across the African Diaspora have produced. We will also engage with a range of scholars in order to address how historians have approached the intersections of women, gender, sexuality and black thought.

Sample Texts:
Mia Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha Jones, Barbara Savage, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women
Ashley Farmer, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era
Brittney Coper, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women
Beverly Guy-Sheftall ed. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought
C. Riley Norton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
Marisa Fuentes, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive
Stephanie Y. Evans, Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History
Vincent Carrretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage 

Grading:
Discussion Leadership: 15%

Reading Notes: 12 %

Class Participation: 13%

4 Reading Skills Essays: 60 %

HIS 350R • Black Women On Trial

38975 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 206
CDWr HI (also listed as AFR 374D, WGS 340)

This seminar course provides an overview of race, class, gender, and sexuality constructs in the late 19th and early 20th century using the public trials of women. Students will investigate the trials of women like Rosa Lee Ingram and Angela Davis in the context of their historical moment while also exploring how these women shaped, and were shaped by, contemporaneous definitions of rape, civil disobedience, sexual harassment, and self-defense. Students will examine primary media coverage of the trials along with secondary sources on race, gender, and queer theory to learn how these historical moments shaped and reflected public understandings of womanhood, race, class, and sex. By the end of the course, participants will have a more nuanced understanding of American history and the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexuality shape public opinions of womanhood today.

 

HIS 350R • Women, Gender & Black Power

38980 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 208
CDWr HI (also listed as AFR 374D, WGS 340)

The black power movement has not only shaped how we think of American society and race relations, but also how we think about gender roles and gender equality. This course examines the movement through the experiences of African American women activists as well as gender and sexuality constructs that prevailed during the second half of the twentieth century. The class will familiarize students with the history of the black power movement and examine scholarship about how femininity, masculinity, and heterosexuality shaped and were shaped by the struggle. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the leading female figures of the movement as well as be able to engage in critical debates about the intersection of gender, sexuality, and African American activism.  

HIS 317L • Intro To African Amer Hist

39025 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.132
CD HI (also listed as AFR 317D)

The course is a survey of African-American history from the slave trade to the recent past. It is an introductory examination of the black experience and is designed to bring to life the voices and history of African Americans. The course is organized chronologically, with an emphasis on the ideas, actors, and organizations that contributed to the African American experience. By the end of the semester, students will have an understanding of how African Americans have contributed to the making of America, the problems that they face, and how African Americans have defined themselves, their history and culture, and their struggle for equality.

Texts:
Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents, Combined Volume
Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision  

Grading:
Attendance & Participation:  20%                  
Document Essays:               25%                
HistoryMakers Mixtape:        15%               
Midterm Exam:                    20%
Final Exam                          20%

HIS 392 • Black Women's Intellectual His

39455 • Fall 2018
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM BEN 1.106
(also listed as AFR 381, WGS 393)

This goal of this course is to explore the historiography of black women’s thought from Early America to the present day. Throughout the course, we will trace the ideological continuities and disjunctures in the texts black women across the African Diaspora have produced. We will also engage with a range of scholars in order to address how historians have approached the intersections of women, gender, sexuality and black thought.

Sample Texts:
Mia Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha Jones, Barbara Savage, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women
Ashley Farmer, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era
Brittney Coper, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women
Beverly Guy-Sheftall ed. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought
C. Riley Norton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
Marisa Fuentes, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive
Stephanie Y. Evans, Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History
Vincent Carrretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage

Grading:
Class Participation: 20%
Discussion Leadership: 10%
Critical Reading Commentaries: 30%
Term Paper Abstract: 15%
Term Paper: 25%

Current/ Past Graduate Students


Current Graduate Students:

Recent Publications


Books:

 

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition

Chapel Hill: UNC Press | 2019

 

Scholarly Journals and Essays:

All the Progress to be Made Will Be Made by Maladjusted Negroes”: Mae Mallory, Black Women’s Activism, and the Making of the Black Radical Tradition,” Journal of Social History, 53:1 (Winter 2019): 1- 23.

Somebody Has to Pay:” Audley Moore and the Modern Reparations Movement,” Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, 7:2 (Fall 2018): 108-134.