VFOA Panama

Black Women Expatriates

This segment of VFOA works to compile scholarly and popular views of Black women’s mobility through interviews and educational workshops with African-American and Caribbean women expatriates, migrants, and tourists. Countering the ubiquity of the now iconic image of Stella from How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and the absence of attention to Black women in immigration studies scholarship as well as in discourses on cosmopolitanism, this section seeks to generate new primary sources that will expand the range of stories told about Black women within and beyond academia.

The initial interviews for this segment were conducted with African American and Caribbean expatriate women in Panamá in 2008. In the years since, we have also gathered narratives of women in the United States, Canada, and other locations, and conducted archival research on Black women’s migration and travel patterns at key moments in the twentieth century, including the interwar period, the era of decolonization, and at the turn of the twenty-first century. Support for this segment has come in part from Vanderbilt’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Department of English.