Ruth Nicole Brown is an associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black girls’ lived experience and explores the gender and racialized power dynamics of collectivity, particularly as it relates to Black girlhood. Through research and creative projects, she is interested in the ways Black girls make use of abstract concepts like freedom, justice, and power. She is the visionary of Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), a practice based, publicly engaged, collectively organized space for Black girls to envision Black girlhood anew.
Brown's first book, Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward A Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy (Peter Lang Press, 2009) counters the invisibility of Black girls and the marginalization of Black girlhood in academic literature by providing a new way to theorize Black girlhood through praxis. Her second book, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (Illinois Press, 2013), provides an ethnographic account of the creative processes Black girls rely on to make intelligible the ways power, creativity, spirituality, memory, and performativity structure meanings of belonging. This book builds on the work of Black feminists and feminists of color to break intriguing new ground in Black feminist thought and methodology. Currently, she is working on a multi-media project, Black Girl Genius about the importance of independent and everyday Black girls’ cultural and artistic expressions.
Ruth Nicole Brown is also the co-editor of Wish To Live: The Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader with Chamara Jewel Kwayke (Peter Lang Press, 2012) and co-editor of Disrupting Qualitative Inquiry: Possibilities and Tensions in Educational Research (Peter Lang, 2014) with Rozana Carducci and Candace Kuby. Brown has written, performed and produced plays (Endangered Black Girls), performance texts (The Rhythm, The Rhyme and The Reason; Black Girlhood: The Mixtape Remix; Check-In) and curated photo performance exhibits (Necessary Truths: Reflections of African American Girlhood). She is also a member of the band, We Levitate, a digital formation of SOLHOT.