Dr. Simone Drake '97 Uses Popular Culture to Interrogate race and gender
Dr. Simone Drake '97 Uses Popular Culture to Interrogate Race, Gender, and Social Justice.
Simone Drake is an associate professor and vice chair of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. She graduated from Denison in 1997, but returned briefly as a visiting professor to teach in Black Studies, Women’s Studies, and English. Most recently, Simone returned to speak to several sections of the Introduction to Black Studies class March of 2016. Her talk was entitled: When the Personal Becomes Political: Blackness, Popular Culture, and 21st Century Controversy. The talk was interactive and gave students a critical framework from which to examine subjects in popular culture from an Afrocentric perspective. Beyoncé Knowles’ performance during halftime at the 2016 Super Bowl 50 figured prominently in the talk by professor Drake as an example which she guided students to interpret analytically for themes of black feminist thought, racial identity development, and representations of blackness.
In her career in the academy, Dr. Drake’s research interests are broad and interdisciplinary, focusing on: critical race, gender, and legal studies; theories of black feminisms and black masculinities; visual and popular culture; and the literature of the African Diaspora in the Americas. Many of these research areas intersect in her manuscript, Critical Appropriations: African American Women and the Construction of Transnational Identity (LSU Press, Southern Literary Studies Series, 2014), and in her second book, “When We Imagine Grace: Black Men and Subject Making” (forthcoming U of Chicago P, 2016). A third book, “Mansion Day School: Reviving the Uplift Tradition”, a grant funded project, is well under way, along with an edited volume, “Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century” (invited submission to Duke UP). She serves on the editorial board for Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men (Indiana UP), and she is a junior scholar in the Ford Foundation supported Scholars Network on Black Masculinity. Her intellectual pursuits are deeply intertwined with a commitment to community engagement through work at her department’s Community Extension Center, as well as through volunteer grant writing, diversity workshops, and other services for the local community.