By Rose Cisneros , Cisneror@mailbox.sc.edu
“I’ve had a tremendous focus on women, health and well-being,” Mitchem says. “My work in African American women's spirituality took me into understanding how Black women's ideas of spirituality are embodied. It's very grounded in the body, and therefore, wellness becomes part of the understanding.”
In bringing this nuanced understanding of Black women’s spirituality, Mitchem says she appreciated the support that she received from a women’s and gender studies program since she first started in 2005.
Mitchem is currently serving as interim-director and has been fully immersed in planning the 50th anniversary year for the department. She says this year's conference is not to be missed.
The conference will look from the past into the future, beginning with the people who founded it and the faculty who carried the torch and finally discussing how the department will forge ahead.
Mitchem hopes the program stays true to its core values, while continuing to grow conversations surrounding gender.
“Women will always be the heart of what we do, and we live in a time when people are beginning to understand gender in a much different way,” Mitchem says.
“The focus on women and gender is what keeps our eyes moving forward and helps us to think through who we are and what we need to do in the future. Diversity is not for its own sake, but so that we can grow human rights, be more thoughtful collaborators and build a name that accepts people for who they are.”