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NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES

PROFESSOR STACIE MCCORMICK

Dr. Stacie McCormickDr. Stacie McCormick is a Literary Scholar, Associate Professor of English, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) and, Women and Gender Studies at Texas Christian University. In addition, Dr. McCormick serves as the Director of the African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) Minor/Emphasis. Dr. Stacie McCormick’s research and scholarship are primarily centered on African American studies and African diaspora and culture, as well as gender, sexuality, the body, and performance.

Currently, Dr. McCormick is on research leave to serve as an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)/Mellon Scholars and Society Fellowship Recipient where she is working on a project centered on Black gynecological justice and wellness. The ACLS/Mellon Scholars and Society is a fellowship that supports faculty in supporting students. As part of her fellowship, Dr. McCormick serves as a Scholar-in-Residence with the Afiya Center, a Black feminist reproductive justice organization in Dallas, Texas. Dr. McCormick is also engaged in community work. She attended a march in Dallas, TX for reproductive rights and a founder of the Afiya Center’s project called “Livable Black Futures” which focuses on Black women and gender expansive people who are subject to oppression in gynecological spaces. In addition, she participates in creative writing and storytelling workshops held by the Afiya Center. In the near future, she wants to focus on working with formerly incarcerated women, another group of people whose voices have often been left out. Dr. McCormick believes that this research is preparing her to “be a better teacher, a better scholar, and preparing [her] to mentor students who want to do community-oriented work or pursue work in academic adjacent careers”.

Her drive for researching Black feminist reproductive justice work comes from the background and history of Black women’s experiences in gynecological settings, which derived from times when J. Maron Sims, recognized as the “father of modern gynecology,” experimented on Black enslaved women without anesthesia because he believed Black women did not experience pain the same way White women did. She also referenced Black women’s experiences in the 1940s and 1950s who were involuntarily sterilized in healthcare spaces. Dr. McCormick’s work raises up Black experiences with gynecological medicine. She also emphasizes Black maternal health given rising rates of Black maternal and infant mortality. Her research discoveries shed light on Fort Worth, Texas, having one of the highest rates of Black maternal and infant mortality in the nation.

Correspondingly, Dr. Stacie McCormick explained that prior to pregnancy, many Black people experience inadequate or disparate care and lack of concern about their medical issues. Furthermore, she feels that it is important to expand this discussion due to the magnitude in which Black people have and are still experiencing harm in gynecological spaces; she refers to this work as “Black gynecological justice and Black gynecological wellness”.

Dr. McCormick’s work is rooted in storytelling, specifically telling Black people’s stories because she believes it is central to the work of justice and healing. Comparative Race and Ethnic studies is proud to have Dr. Stacie McCormick as part of the department. Dr. Stacie’s research is critical, not only at TCU, but in our community and beyond; her work is outstanding. We thank her for empowering and promoting healing to the community.

Why is literature important to you in the understanding of minority communities?

Literature is so central to the Black experience, and any minoritized group who has had experiences of oppression use words to name it and speak back. In the United States, the slave narrative was kind of our original way of articulating our subjectivity. We used the slave narrative a form of resistance to this idea that we were not human or not worthy of being heard. So, the power of the written word and what it did is a big part of why I was drawn to literature, in addition to my own love for literature. I see literature as a deep connecter and an expressive space for people who have been minoritized to assert the validity of their own ideas and existence through how we gain so much insight about people and their philosophical ideas”.

Equally important, Dr. Stacie McCormick adds, “literature allows us to have records that we then return to as lessons”. Furthermore, she uses an illustration of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable series. She believes that Butler was writing into the future by describing experiences relating to global climate issues and health crises like the ones we are seeing in current times.

What changes do you look forward to seeing in our communities as students embrace organizations related to CRES?

“I think about the founding of AAAS and CRES, and we would not be here if it weren’t for the students who demanded a culturally responsive curriculum that featured Black, African diaspora, and Latinx/e subjects. I think that within the TCU setting when students are empowered with knowledge about various cultures, about reflections of issues facing our world, which CRES focuses on, then they become equipped to tackle issues facing them in their everyday lives. Students will be able to gain important perspectives that not only help them support themselves but maybe understand these contexts better, like issues of injustice. Students have great opportunities to go out and impact various communities whether it be in service, supporting various communal efforts, etc. So many of our students are in different fields where their work has resonance, and I’m always inspired by the students that work with groups that normally wouldn’t have access to the tools and resources that they do.”

Written By: Graciela Frias