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Lecture: 'Black co-op pioneers in the struggle for economic justice'

Jessica Gordon Nembhard
February 08, 2011

How can community-based economic development bring economic empowerment and prosperity to underdeveloped, marginalized and underserved communities – particularly communities of color suffering from institutional racism and economic inequality?

This is one of the big questions Jessica Gordon Nembhard addresses in her work as a political economist specializing in economic development policy, Black political economy, and popular economic literacy. Gordon Nembhard is an associate professor of community justice and social economic development in the Department of African-American Studies at John Jay College, CUNY.

On Feb. 14, Gordon Nembhard will share with the ASU community some of her research on African-American participation in, and design of, alternative democratic economic strategies, in which she’s studied how African-American scholars and activists over the last 300 years have viewed and engaged in cooperative economics. Her talk – “Black Co-op Pioneers in the Struggle for Economic Justice” – will take place at noon, in the Memorial Union, room 246, on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Professor Gordon Nembhard’s visit to ASU is in connection with a new School of Social Transformation course in Justice and Social Inquiry: Social Enterprises: Innovation, Justice and Community Development (JUS 497/JUS 591). The course is co-taught by assistant professor of Justice and Social Inquiry Vanna Gonzales and professor Enrico Giovannetti of the Department of Political Economy at Italy’s University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.  

Gordon Nembhard's leadership in the study of people-centered local economic development comes not only from her scholarly pursuits but from her grassroots and active involvement in organizations concerned with helping alternative economic structures take hold and succeed. Appointed to the Black Enterprise Board of Economists in 1999, she serves on the board of directors of ONE DC and is a co-founder of the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, the Democracy Collaborative, and the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network. She is a charter member of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and an active member of Grassroots Economic Organizing.

She has recently held visiting appointments at Howard University’s Center on Race and Wealth and at the Centre for the Study of Cooperatives at the University of Saskatchewan.

For more information contact: professor Vanna Gonzales, Justice and Social Inquiry, 965-7631 or