Many paths in Carolyn’s life led to her interests in anthropology and feminism. She chose to study anthropology because the field asked big questions about who we are as human beings and about the relationship of individuals to society. Carolyn's experiences in Africa put questions about gender relations at the center of her interests. It wasn’t so much those magnificent market women in West Africa that fascinated her, but rather the individual women in the Central Highlands of Kenya who did not behave as they were "supposed to.” These women defied their husbands, did not obey their fathers, and lived apart from husband and family while working to take care of their children. These women taught Carolyn to look more closely at what was expected of her as a black woman who grew up in the southern United States and consider her own obedience to and defiance of those norms. African women helped Carolyn to see what she suppressed or gave up to be a “good girl.” Carolyn in turn has celebrated the spirit of these women through both her writing and her teaching.
Click here to download a copy of Carolyn's Curriculum Vitae:
This video was made by Carolyn's students as a tribute to her life and work: