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Callie House Research Center for the Study of Global Black Cultures and Politics


African American and Diaspora Studies launched the Research Center in summer 2012 with annual seed funding from the College of Arts & Science Dean’s Office. The Research Center was renamed the Callie House Research Center for the Study of Global Black Cultures and Politics. In March 2015, the Callie House lecture was inaugurated by Mary Frances Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner, and native Nashvillian, who wrote My Face is Black is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations. The Center is the research arm of the academic program. The Callie House Research Center sponsors lectures, conferences, working groups, professional development and academic seminars, and activities associated with the peer-reviewed journal: Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender, and the Black International (SUNY Press). The House Center also serves as a funding source for AADS faculty initiatives as well as initiatives proposed by faculty external to AADS and Vanderbilt that dovetail with the mission and intellectual thrust of the Center, which includes projects relating to internationalism, gender, sexuality, race, academe, and mentoring.

About Callie House

A black and white photograph of Callie House

Callie House was born a slave in Rutherford County, Tennessee in 1861. Post-emancipation, she worked as a seamstress and washerwoman in Nashville, Tennessee. House received a primary school education. Her evolving understanding of her rights as a citizen led to an interest in social justice and politics. In 1898, House helped found the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association. The Association eventually claimed 300,000 members. The Ex-Slave Association represents “the first mass reparations movement led by African Americans.”



Current Center Activities and Initiatives

  • Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender, and the Black International
  • Annual Callie House Lecture
  • Smoke, Lilies, and Jade Series
  • Undergraduate funding for participation in the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
  • Annual Writing Retreat for “The Fugitives,” a writing group "For Black Women...Who Keep Writing...Because Tenure Isn't Enough" (Inaugural Retreat, June 2013 in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL; Retreat June 2014 in Saratoga Springs, NY; Retreat June 2015 in Newport, RI; Retreat May 2016 in St. Augustine, FL; Retreat June 2017 in Santorini, Greece; Retreat June 2018 in Asheville, NC; Retreat May 2019 in Hilton Head Island, SC; Retreat May 2021 in Savannah, GA; Retreat May 2022 in New York City, NY)
  • Annual Working Symposium for Early-Mid Career Women Academics 
  • Pre and Post doc Teaching and Research Fellowships
  • Annual Works-in-Progress Seminar (Location: Newport, Rhode Island)


For more information on the Center and its activities, please contact the Center Director: Professor Sharpley-Whiting