Distinguished Lecturers
Nicole Burrowes

Nicole Burrowes

Nicole Burrowes is an assistant professor in the department of history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her research and teaching interests include social justice movements, comparative histories of racialization and colonialism, Black Internationalism, and the politics of solidarity, with a focus on the modern Caribbean and 20th century African American history. She is the recipient numerous fellowships, including the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship; the Institute for Scholars and Citizens (formerly the Woodrow Wilson Foundation) Career Enhancement Fellowship; the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University; and pre-doctoral fellowships at the Carter G. Woodson for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, and in African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. Burrowes has written on race and labor; the civil rights movement; Black intellectual history; Black and Brown feminist organizing; and critical pedagogy. Her current book project, "Seeds of Solidarity: African-Indian Relations and the 1935 Labor Rebellions in British Guiana," explores the historical possibility of a movement forged at the edge of empire in the midst of environmental, economic, and political crises. She is also the former Assistant Director for the Schomburg-Mellon Summer Humanities Institute at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where she mentored undergraduates research and supervised applications to doctoral programs in fields related to Africa and the African Diaspora, developing a pipeline of underrepresented students to pursue faculty careers. Beyond academia, she draws on an extensive portfolio of experience in community organizing, working with BIPOC communities for transformative justice.

OAH Lectures by Nicole Burrowes

In 1964, civil rights organizations, citizens of Mississippi, and student volunteers from across the country came together to challenge segregation in one of the nation’s most racially oppressive and violent states. They registered African American voters who had been denied the right to vote, established Freedom Schools, organized Freedom Votes and created the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. It was a strategic experiment that rocked the nation and fundamentally challenged white supremacy in the South. This lecture explores this campaign from the perspective of local people in Mississippi. Examining Freedom Summer challenges conventional understandings of civil rights history, allowing us to think more critically about the nature of democracy in the United States, state-sanctioned violence, long-standing ideological debates within the movement, and notions of collective leadership.

From Claudia Jones to Ella Baker to Audre Lorde, Black women have long advanced an analysis and deep practice of building solidarity. This lecture explores histories of Black women's activism, the meanings and possibilities of solidarity, and lessons for us in these times.

During the 1990s, Black and Latinx young women came together to create the Sista II Sista Freedom School for Young Women of Color in Brooklyn, NY. After two young women were killed by police, they began to organize, connecting issues of state-sanctioned violence, the historical lack of protection offered to women of color, and experiences of gendered intraracial violence in an innovative campaign entitled Sistas Liberated Ground. This lecture explores their work and its implications given the rise of today's #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements.

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