Freemasonry and Black Middle-Class Masculinity Talk at HWS – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Freemasonry and Black Middle-Class Masculinity Talk at HWS

The theme “Laboring Under Globalization” continues with a discussion of Freemasonry and how it has affected black men.

February 13, 2003 GENEVA, N.Y.— How did middle-class and elite African Americans, African Caribbeans, and Africans use fraternal societies such as the Freemasons to create a collective black masculinity? How did such societies liberate and/or constrain the formation of a middle-class black masculinity? Historian Martin Summers will examine these transformations of masculinity in transnational contexts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Colleges' campus, as part of the Fisher Center lecture series. His talk is titled “Diasporic Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transnational Production of Black Middle-Class Masculinity.” A roundtable discussion will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Fisher Center, Demarest Hall room 212.

Summers is an assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. He holds a B.A. from Hampton University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Examining transatlantic links of Freemasons of African descent, Summers studies fraternalism as one avenue by which middle-class and elite African Americans, African Caribbeans, and Africans formed collective, disaporic gender identity. Summers’ scholarship focuses on race, class and sexuality in the formation of masculine identity. He is currently completing his book “Manliness and Its Discontents: The Transformation of Masculinity Among the Black Middle Class, 1900-1930”.

Fisher Center lectures and seminars provide a forum for students, faculty and community members to explore gender issues. The Center, founded with a $1 million gift from Emily and Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993, seeks to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary gender issues. More information is available at the Fisher Center Web site http://www.hws.edu/academics/community/fishercenter/events.asp.

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