On Documenting the Collective Lives of Black Women

On Documenting the Collective Lives of Black Women

Siobhan Carter-David

Associate Professor of History Siobhan Carter-David recently published her essay, “Essence as Archive on the Occasion of its Golden Anniversary,” in Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). First published in 1970, Essence is a monthly lifestyle magazine covering fashion, beauty, entertainment, and culture. Its target audience is African American women.

In what Carter-David refers to as her “ode to Essence,” she discusses “the work carried out by Essence in documenting the collective lives of Black women” over the past 50 years. She has used the magazine in her research and writing.

Carter-David, who is also an affiliate faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies, teaches in the areas of fashion studies and African American/African Diasporic and contemporary United States histories. Her research focuses are dress and racial uplift as presented in black print media and migration and public housing in New York City. She has worked with museum and special collection curators on projects involving various facets of African American and broad-based United States cultural histories. She is author of several journal articles, and chapters in edited volumes and exhibition catalogues. She is completing her book manuscript, Issuing the Black Wardrobe: Fashion, Magazines, and Uplift Post-Soul.