Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill (and critical race feminism) 20 Years Later

Yes, it’s been 20 years since Anita Hill’s testimony at the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas.  If you are not familiar with the story of the Hill-Thomas hearings, here are some possible sources:

Wikipedia, CNN. transcripts of her testimony.

Both Thomas and Hill have published memoirs which feature the confirmation hearings (Hill’s is Speaking Truth to Power in 1998 and Thomas wrote a more general autobiography, My Grandfather’s Son, in 2007).  Here are a few books which took on the task of unpacking and explaining the impact of the hearings:

Race-Ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, Toni Morrison, ed., 1992

Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings, Anita Hill & Emma Coleman Jordan, 1995

African American Women Speak out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas, Geneva Smitherman, ed., 1995

I think it might be hard to convey how dramatic these hearings were, how much attention was focused on them, and the number of different rifts they exposed, but this conference (October 15, NYC) looks like it will do a great job.  The speakers list includes a number of powerhouses of critical race feminism, including Lani Guinier & Kimberle Crenshaw.

Anita Hill was probably the first female law professor I ever “saw” (on TV!) – and even to my rather young self, she looked young back then.  Her steadfastness at the centre of a real firestorm of controversy was impressive then.  The echoes continue, from the bizarre personal phone call from Justice Thomas’s wife to Professor Hill last year, to this conference (sponsors listed here).

About the Conference | Anita Hill 20 Years Later.

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