Kat Powell

African American Studies, Class of 2020

I’m an African American Studies major with certificates in Latin American Studies and Humanistic Studies.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Certificate Student, Humanities Mentor, Behrman Society

Activities on campus:

Vice-President of Princeton Association of Black Women, diSiac Dance Company, Princeton University Mentorship Program, Tutor for El Centro ESL, Intern at the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, Vice President of Princeton Association of Black Women (Emerita)


Ron Brown Scholar

Why I decided to study the humanities:

I’ve always adored literature and history and been intrigued by the possibility of words as weapons and art as activism; I reject the notion that only the numerically measurable is important. More than anything, I think questioning the category of “human,” especially as it is wrapped up in notions of race, gender, and nation, can teach us about liberation.

What I have gained from the humanities:

Studying the humanities has allowed me to see all the differences and similarities between humans. I’m in the African American Studies department, and seeing how violence and subjugation have been inflicted across African and the African Diaspora has shaped how I see the world. But studying the literature and history of Black feminist scholars across the Diaspora has also shaped how I think of the humanities as a tool for imagining a more just world.

Independent work:

My junior paper focused on the national mythmaking in the Dominican Republic following the borderlands massacre of 1937. I traveled to the national archives in Santo Domingo in December 2018 to conduct research for this project. My senior thesis was about Black feminisms and the making of Black internationalism in the francophone world, in the 1930s-1970s. I traveled to Fort-de-France, Martinique and Dakar, Sénégal to conduct archival research on Black feminist literary and print culture.

HUM Sequence fall break trip:

The HUM trip to Rome was an amazing opportunity to travel and bond with my classmates! I also appreciated the guidance of Profs. Schor and Baraz, and getting to hear how they approached their scholarship as a daily practice. My project focused on representations of slavery in the first and thirteenth centuries AD, with an emphasis on how racialized depictions of the enslaved developed and formed ideals around personhood. It was an immense blessing to learn, explore, and eat (very!) good food with such thoughtful people.

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