Tiffany Willoughby-Herard (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Project Title

I Meant for You to be Free: A Love Letter to and Pedagogies for the Post-1994 Generation in South Africa

University of California, Irvine

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Fellowship Work Summary, 2022–23

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard is associate professor of African American studies at the University of California, Irvine and professor extraordinarius in the Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at the University of South Africa, and the president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Willoughby-Herard’s research explores Black political thought and the material conditions of knowledge production in Black movements; South African historiography; blackness in international relations and diaspora; third world feminisms, decolonizing theory, feminist pedagogy, Black & African feminisms; and racial capitalism/gendered racisms/sexuality in international relations.

Willoughby-Herard’s current work, the book, ‘I meant for you to be free’: Winnie Mandela’s Love Letter to Young South Africans, the Post-1994 Generation explores cross-generational political education, contemporary youth led movements, and Fatima Meer, Motsoko Pheko, and Winnie Mandela as architects of the present. Willoughby-Herard is the author of Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability (University of California Press, 2015) and of articles in Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International; African Identities; Journal of Women Politics, and Policy; PS: Political Science and Politics; Critical Ethnic Studies Association; Frontiers: A Journal of Womens Studies; Abolition Journal; Contemptorary; Journal of Contemporary Thought; Politics, Groups and Identities; Race & Class; National Political Science Review; Social Justice; Theory & Event; and Kroeber Anthropology Society Papers, among other publications. Willoughby-Herard is also the coeditor of a new book on Black feminist cultural studies in contemporary South Africa coedited with Derilene Marco and Abebe Zegeye, entitled Sasinda Futhi Siselapha: Black Feminist Approaches to Cultural Studies in South Africa’s Twenty-Five Years Since 1994 (Africa World Press, 2021), and a textbook, Theories of Blackness: On Life and Death (Cognella Press, 2011).

Willoughby-Herard has been a founding member of several intimate and vulnerable spaces for collaboratively-led, feminist research including: Black Women Writing Africa (formerly Transnational Black Womxn Scholars of African Politics) Research Network; LUNAS; and #InForUs, and the Women’s Wellness Garden. Such models reflect what Willoughby-Herard has inherited from the radical scholars that fought for space for liberatory histories and “leader-full” movements. Willoughby-Herard is the co-principle investigator of the Black Digital Humanities online research archive, Activist Studio West: A Digital Repository of Movement Material, that serves as a pathway to doctoral education programs for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Willoughby-Herard was the humanities equity advisor and inaugural special assistant to the dean of humanities on Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. As a member of the NCOBPS LGBTQ+ Caucus and the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics, they have found space to grow as a poet, an editor, a reader, a mama, a member of a church choir, a teacher, an undergraduate research supervisor, a friend, an ethical and grounded political scientist, and a Black internationalist lesbian feminist who survived.

Selected Publications

Waste of a White Skin

  • Marco, Derilene (Dee), Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, and Abebe Zegeye, eds. Sasinda Futhi Siselapha: Black Feminist Approaches to Cultural Studies in South Africa’s Twenty Six Years Since 1994. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2021.
  • Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany. “(Political) Anesthesia or (Political) Memory: The Combahee River Collective and the Death of Black Women in Custody.” Theory & Event 21, no. 1 (2018): 259-81.
  • Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany. Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.
  • Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany. “Fighting for an Intervention in History in the Face of Dreams Deferred in the Making: Twenty Years of South African Democracy.” African Identities 12, no. 3-4 (2014): 225-35.
  • Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany. “’The Only One Who was Thought to Know the Pulse of the People’: Black Women’s Politics in the Era of Post-Racial Discourse.” Cultural Dynamics 26, no. 1 (2014): 73-90.