Sekile Nzinga-Johnson PhD


Core Faculty

Assistant Professor,
Gender and Women's Studies

PhD, Human Development
University of Maryland

Office: 1222 UH (MC 360)
Phone: 312-355-4368
E-mail: sekile3 [at] uic [dot] edu


About Dr. Sekile Nzinga-Johnson

My scholarly and teaching interests center on race and gender, class/labor, discourses of the family, reproductive rights and Black feminist theory.
My current scholarship is focused on the working lives of Black women academics, motherhood and reproduction.  My edited volume, Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering and the Academy (Demeter) is forthcoming Summer 2013. This volume offers a counterspace that locates the intersectional contours of Black women’s motherwork within the dominant discourse on mothering in the academy. It intentionally blurs essentialist boundaries of mother and “other”, which construct alternate border zones of meaning making. The volume offers counternarratives through literary analysis, autoethnography, memoir, empirical research, theoretical frameworks and praxis. Laboring Positions serves as a foundation for my larger research project examining the working lives, material realities, and maternal experiences of black academic women.  In addition, my professional background in the field of social work has deepened my interest in the history of the profession and the role social workers played in managing and controlling women of color and poor women’s reproduction.  This interest has lead me to a new project in which I am chronicling the establishment, gains and stalemates of the North Carolina Justice for Victims of Sterilization Task Force founded in 2010 and the North Carolina Gubernatorial Task Force on Eugenics Compensation under Executive Order 83.

I have spent the last 20 years working in a wide variety of activist and practice arenas. My work spans women’s mental health, women’s economic autonomy, sexual abuse survival, young mothers, adolescent sexuality, youth development, HIV/AIDS affected families, and home-school-community partnerships in Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC and Rochester, NY.

I am currently teaching an upper level seminar on the Politics of Motherhood (GWS 494), incorporating my scholarly interests in motherhood and reproductive histories of women.  I also teach GWS 101: Gender In Everyday Life, which allows me to incorporate my love of teaching students at the beginning of their intellectual journey in Gender and Women’s Studies.

When I am not working you can find me running in a local road race or getting lost between the racks of a local thrift store.

Read a recent interview with Dr. Nzinga-Johnson on Feminist Wire here

*Selected Publications

Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering and the Academy (forthcoming, Demeter)