2023 ISC

Momentum and Obstacles

The 2023 Remote Intersectional Studies Conference will take place on March 24, 2023 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. U. S. Eastern Standard Time via Zoom. 

 The theme for the 2023 ISC is "Human Rights: Momentum and Obstacles."

In 1949, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, providing a foundational set of human rights that has inspired movements across the globe and declarations that expand on the UN document. Nevertheless, millions today are still denied human rights. When it comes to embracing human rights, societies move forward, move backward, and even remain in stasis.

The conference is free, but registration is required. 

Click below to register.

2023 Intersectional Studies Remote Conference

March 24, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

South Carolina State University   

Momentum and Obstacles

8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

Opening and Greetings

Janice Hawes, Chair of the ISC Committee

8:50 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions 1 and 2

Session 1 Human Rights and Cultural Identities

Moderator: Josalyn Woodruff-Lee, Instructor of English (SC State)

"Sunnat Perempuan and the Politics of Assimilation, Acculturation, and Belongingness: An Intersectional Analysis of Female Genital Circumcision among Tamil Muslim Women in  Malaysia" 

     Pavithra Nandanan Menon, Ph.D. Candidate   

     Comparative Asian Studies Programme, Southeast Asian Studies Department                        

     National University of Singapore        

"Dem Vene dem"

     Alison Mc Letchie, Assistant Professor of Sociology

     South Carolina State University

"Human Rights of Denotified Tribes in India" 

     Pradeep Ramavath Jayanaik

     Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati


Session 2 Intersectionality and Women's Rights as Human Rights 

Moderator: Cathi Cooper-Mack, Assistant to the Dean, Miller F. Whitaker Library (SC State) 

"Mexican Indigenous Women in Higher Education: An Intersectional Perspective"               Ana Arán Sánchez

     Escuela Normal Rural "Ricardo Flores Magón," Saucillo, Chihuahua, México

"Online Women Movements in the MENA Region"

      Suha A. M. Oudah, LLM in Law & Gender, Independent Researcher  

"Household Division of Labour between Wife and Husband during COVID-19 Lockdown: The Vietnamese Case"

     Chung Thi Kim Nguyen, Faculty of Law

     National Academy of Public Administration, Hanoi, Vietnam

10:15 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions 3 and 4

Session 3 Beyond the Documents: Human Rights in the 21st Century

Moderator:  Ursula Robinson, Professor of Drama (SC State) 

"The GOBARdhan Initiative: Securing Citizens' Rights to a Clean Environment in 21st-century India"

     Aditi Basu, Independent Researcher

"Secularist Obstructions and Selective Emancipation: Towards a Diffractive Understanding of Human Rights in the 21st Century"

     Mohammed Alam, Ph.D. Researcher

     The University of Bolton, United Kingdom

"Pedagogical Human Rights Integration: Human Rights and Invisibility in the Foreign Language Classroom"

      Sumor Ziva Sheppard, Assistant Professor of Spanish 

      Prairie View A&M University


Session 4 Intersectionality, Power, and Gender 

Moderator: Dior Konate, Professor of History (SC State)

"Precarious Bodies: Gender, Class, and the Grammar of Violence in the Metropolis" 

     Wafa Hamid, Assistant Professor of English

      Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University

"The Denial of Human Rights: Mobocracy, Honor, and the Lynching of Women in South Carolina, 1880-1899

     Dayna Daniely, Assistant Professor of History 

     Fort Valley State University

"Understanding Human Rights within the Feminist Movement" 

     Gugu Selela, Ph.D. Student, Women's Leadership and Policy Studies 

     Clemson University

11:40 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions 5 and 6

Session 5 Human Rights Issues: Power and Empowerment 

Moderator: Thomas Cassidy, Professor of English (SC State)

"Unjust Arguments and the 'Qatar World Cup of Shame'" 

     Gabrielle Wilkosz, Ph.D. Student

     Rhetorics, Communications, and Information Design Clemson University

"A Woman's Worth in the Black Social Justice Tradition" 

     Kavon Franklin, Associate Professor of English 

     Alabama State University

"Haben Girma: A Fighter for People with Disabilities" 

     Margaret Morris, Associate Professor of Spanish 

     South Carolina State University  


Session 6 Images and Voices: The Complex Role of Media in Human Rights

Moderator: Dante Mozie, Instructor of Journalism (SC State)

"On Counter-Memes: A Rhetorical Study of Allyship in Social Media Memetics" 

     Kaitlyn Michelle Samons, Ph.D. Student

     Rhetorics, Communications, and Information Design, Clemson University

"Video Evidence, Excessive Force and the Hyper-Visibility of Black Mobility on Public Transit" 

     Chante Barnwell, Ph.D. Student

     Socio-Legal Studies, Department of Social Sciences, York University, Toronto, Canada 

1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Lunch Break

1:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.

The 2023 ISC Keynote Speaker

Bakari Sellers

1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Introduction

      Presiding: Janice Hawes, Chair of English and Communications

      Greetings: President Alexander Conyers, South Carolina State University

      The Occasion: Provost Frederick Evans, South Carolina State University

      Introduction of Mr. Sellers: Demi Washington, Instructor of Communications

2:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. Keynote Address

    Mr. Bakari Sellers

Two-time NY Times best-selling Author, Civil Rights Activist, Attorney, Entrepreneur, Legislator, and overall Prolific voice of the Culture, Bakari Sellers continues to build upon the strong legacy he inherited as the son of Gwendolyn Sellers and civil rights leader Cleveland Sellers. While his dad helped shape movements working alongside Stokely Carmichael, Bayard Rustin, and Malcolm X, Bakari has come into his own helping to write the blueprint for today's movements with the likes of Rep. James Clyburn, Attorney Benjamin Crump, and President Barack Obama.

Bakari forged his own path from very early on. He entered Morehouse College at the age of 16. He went on to become a graduate of the University of South Carolina Law School and he became the youngest legislator in the South Carolina state legislature at 22. He carries this mantle of success with the right balance of gravitas, style, generosity, and humility-a nod to his humble beginnings in Denmark, SC where "please and thank you" are the chief currency in town. In penning both his memoir My Vanishing Country and a children's book entitled "Who Are Your People?," Bakari pays homage to the working-class values that encouraged him to "dream with his eyes wide open" and that are the predicate for his persistent fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the US and abroad.

A CNN analyst, Bakari also brings an ability to elevate discourse such that people always feel one step closer to a solution or resolution after he speaks. He combines these and many other talents in his new podcast, The Bakari Sellers Podcast which airs two times a week on the Ringer Podcast Network. Sellers has also been an attorney with the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. in Columbia, South Carolina since 2007, where he heads up the firm's Strategic Communication and Public Affairs team and the DEI Consulting practice.

He is married to Dr. Ellen Rucker-Sellers and they are the proud parents of three children.

2:30 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.

Discussion Panel: Addressing Health Disparities

Moderator: Mr. Elbert Malone, Associate Provost for Sponsored Programs and Research (SC State)


Dr. Marvella Ford (Endowed Chair, Cancer Disparities, MUSC) 

Dr. Ron Gimbel (Director, Clemson Rural Health)

Dr. Audrey McCrary-Quarles, Associate Professor, Health Sciences (SC State)

Dr. Ashley Knowell, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Science (SC State)

Dr. Marvella Ford is a tenured professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where she is the Associate Director of Population Sciences and Community Outreach and Engagement at the NCI-designated Hollings Cancer Center (Dr. Raymond DuBois, Director). She completed her undergraduate training at Cornell University and her graduate and postdoctoral fellowship training at the University of Michigan. Dr. Ford leads several federally funded cancer disparities-focused research grants, including an NCI Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) U54 grant titled "South Carolina Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (SC CADRE)" with Dr. Judith Salley from South Carolina State University. Dr. Ford is also a multiple principal investigator (MPI), with Drs. David Marshall and Craig Lockhart, for an NCI-funded Minority and Medically Underserved Community Oncology Research Program grant. She is an MPI of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center's first Stand Up To Cancer grant, with Dr. Robert Winn, Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center. She previously co-led an NIMHD-funded R01 grant with Dr. Nestor Esnaola to test the effectiveness of a multi-level patient navigation intervention in increasing receipt of lung cancer surgery in Black people diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer. An author/co-author of more than 115 peer-reviewed scientific papers, she co-edited the 2017 and 2020 Advances in Cancer Research volumes titled "Cancer Disparities" and "Cancer Health Equity," respectively, and has published nine book chapters.  

She is a Deacon and a Sunday School teacher at the Charity Missionary Baptist Church, where the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III is the Pastor.

Dr. Ron Gimbel is a Professor of Public Health Sciences & Director, Clemson Rural Health at Clemson University. He is a former health administrator who transitioned into academia as a second career, previously serving as a faculty member in the School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Gimbel arrived in South Carolina in 2014 where he served as Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. In July 2021, he transitioned from the department chair role to lead Clemson Rural Health on a full-time basis, demonstrating Clemson University's commitment to improving health equity and outcomes in underserved and rural communities. Dr. Gimbel is an active researcher focusing on projects that leverage technology to improve the quality of health services and patient outcomes.

Dr. Audrey McCrary-Quarles is a professor, an established Certified Health Education Specialist, and a community-based participatory researcher in the Department of Health Sciences at South Carolina State University. She has a BS in Biology, MSA in Health Services Administration, and Ph.D. in Education – focusing on Health Education. She has over 15 years of working in the Healthcare arena and understands the growing needs of underserved minority populations and their increased risks of developing chronic illnesses/diseases. She strongly advocates for reducing health disparities and addressing the Social Determinants of Health to promote health and wellness within rural communities. She has gained extensive leadership experience in working with youth in career preparation and mentorship, developing curriculums (such as the COVID-19 Health Coach Training Module and the Community Health Worker Training Curriculum), conducting training sessions (such as CPR/First Aid Instructor and online course development for faculty), and planning/implementing community engagement and outreach activities through previous grant work. Dr. Quarles's passion lies in working with people of all ages and diverse backgrounds to share information and resources to assist them in living healthier lives as they grow older.

Dr. Ashley Knowell is an Associate Professor of Biology and Co-Director of the Health Equity Research and Training Center at South Carolina State University. Dr. Knowell's research program is focused on Health Disparities and Health Equity at South Carolina State University. Her work on the role of the socio-economic status, social determinants of health and pro-inflammatory genes in chronic illnesses has focused on children, adults, and underserved communities in the state of South Carolina. She has worked on cancer disparities, COVID, and other chronic diseases. Ultimately, her goal is to understand the initiation, progression, and treatment of chronic conditions in diverse racial groups. Recently, she (one of three MPIs, including Dr. McCrary-Quarles) received funding from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address health disparities surrounding the COVD-19 virus and vaccine hesitancy among Blacks in South Carolina. The team has established partnerships with several local grassroots organizations and community leaders within rural South Carolina to conduct listening sessions to share accurate COVID information and assess vaccine hesitancy. Through training, they have been able to equip community members, trained as Community Health Coaches, to share accurate COVID information through meaningful community engagement. Also, the study has allowed the team to begin to understand the best practices for disseminating health information within these communities. Most recently, the team received an HHS HRSA grant that focuses on developing a Community Health Workers Program at SCSU, where she serves as the Co-Program Director.                                                                                                                    

At South Carolina State University, her experience includes grant management, both scientific and administrative on numerous grants funded by the CDC-DHEC, NIH, NSF, and USDA NIFA. She has the expertise, leadership, training, expertise, and motivation necessary to successfully lead any community-focused project.

Dr. Knowell resides in Blythewood, SC with her husband, Bryan Sr. and two children, Bryley and Bryan Jr.

3:45 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions 7 and 8

Session 7 Voices for Human Rights in the Arts

Moderator: Rosetta Dingle, Professor of Music Education (SC State)

"The Struggle for Human Rights in Gail Jones's Sorry" 

     Marietta Kosma

     University of Oxford

"Singing (More Than) Human Rights"

     Jessica Schwartz, Associate Professor of Musicology 

    University of California, Los Angeles


Session 8 Undergraduate Voices: Student Activism 


Sharmaine Simmons, Senior (SC State)

LaDarius Jefferson, Senior (SC State)


A special thank you to our keynote speaker, Mr. Bakari Sellers.

Thank you also to our Health Disparities Panel and Moderator: Dr. Marvella Ford,

     Dr. Ron Gimbel, Dr. Audrey McCrary-Quarles, Dr. Ashely Evans-Knowell, and Mr.

     Elbert Malone.

Thank you to all of our presenters and moderators for another wonderful conference.

The Department of English and Communications and the ISC Committee also want to thank the following members of the SC State campus community for their support and assistance:

     Mr. Alexander Conyers, President, South Carolina State University

     Dr. Frederick Evans, Provost, South Carolina State University

     Dr. Evelyn Fields, Acting Dean, College of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences,

            South Carolina State University

     Ms. Rosalind Hanson, Administrative Assistant, Department of English and 

           Communications, South Carolina State University

Finally, thank you to everyone who attended. We hope to see you in March 2024!

The 2023 Intersectional Studies Conference Committee:

      Dr. Janice Hawes, Chair of English and Communications, SC State

      Dr. Thomas Cassidy, Professor of English, SC State

      Mr. Dante Mozie, Instructor of Journalism, SC State

      Mr. Demi Washington, Instructor of Journalism, SC State

      Mr. Muhammad Mashreque, Instructor of Speech and English, SC State

      Ms. Arah Pinson, Instructor of English (retired), SC State

      LaDarius Jefferson, Student Intern, SC State

      Sharmaine Simmons, Student Intern, SC State

      Ianna Johnson, Student Intern, SC State

      Whitney Brown, Student Intern, SC State