Lecture to focus on identity issues for African-American adolescent girls

Thursday, April 16, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — As part of a lecture series hosted by MU's sociology department, Scripps College's Sheila Walker will discuss on Friday the roles race, gender and class play in forming adolescent African-American girls' identities.

"Most of the research on identity among racial and ethnic minorities has examined only racial or ethnic identity, not how that aspect of identity is related to other aspects, such as gender, class or sexual orientation," said Walker, an associate professor of psychology and chair of the intercollegiate black studies department at Scripps College, via e-mail.

If you go

What: "Hoochie Mamas and Chicken Heads: Race, Gender, Class and Identity Among African-American Adolescent Girls"

When: 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Room 310, Middlebush Hall, MU, corner of Ninth Street and University Avenue

Cost: Free

Identity, she said, is a "psychological phenomenon found in all people, yet what psychologists know about identity they know primarily from research with white, middle-class Americans."

Walker said her lecture, part of the Sociology Colloquium Series, will be based on a study she conducted that centers on a population that is typically marginalized by mainstream research — young African-American females.

MU sociology professor Ibitola Pearce said she had recommended that Walker be added to the colloquium series, which strives to bring a diverse set of speakers to campus. Pearce said members of several academic departments, such as women's and gender studies and psychology, will be interested in the material covered in Walker's lecture.

Pearce, who first met Walker when they taught at the same university in Nigeria, said "it's important for the kind of work (Walker) is doing to be given exposure."

Walker's lecture will begin at 3 p.m. Friday in MU's Middlebush Hall.

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Ray Shapiro April 16, 2009 | 5:20 p.m.

I'll be there, with bells on!

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