Jennifer C. Nash is an associate professor of African American studies and gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University. Nash’s work centers on black feminist theory, black sexual politics, race and visual culture, and theories of intersectionality.
During the fellowship year, Nash is exploring how crisis has become the primary political genre of contemporary black motherhood and analyzing how black mothers wage political work through crisis discourse at the same time that they upend notions of their bodies and children as in crisis. The first half of her proposed book explores public health attention to the “crisis” in black women’s reproductive health, examining state efforts to increase black women’s breastfeeding rates and to train black doulas to mitigate high black maternal and infant mortality rates. The second half of the book turns to the realm of the aesthetic, examining how black women’s cultural production contends with the rhetoric of black maternal crisis, and tracks how black maternity is represented both as proximate to death and as a space marked by creativity, spirituality, and self-transformation.
Nash is the author of The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (Duke University Press, 2014) and Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality (Duke University Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in American Quarterly, Feminist Review, Feminist Studies, Feminist Theory, GLQ, Signs, and Social Text. She earned her PhD in African American studies from Harvard University, her JD from Harvard Law School, and her AB in women’s studies from Harvard College.