Dr. Daphne Brooks

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 Daphne is a professor of African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale, where her work focuses primarily on the intersection of black feminism and performance.


“Daphne is a visionary thinker, a beloved teacher, and an important voice for social justice in these dark times.”

– Gayle Wald, nominator


Name: Daphne Ann Brooks

Age: 50!

Birthplace: Redwood City, CA

IG or Twitter Handle: old school – no real social media presence

What woman in your life has been the greatest source of inspiration to you? I come from a culture that celebrates collectives and communities – so it’s the women rather than one woman – who’ve shaped my world: my mother, the retired teacher who left the Jim Crow south w/ my dad to start a new life in CA; my aunt who came before her and lived a life of community service; my sister, who became a Bay Area cultural icon & role model; my academic mentors – Dr. Valerie Smith, Dr. Gabrielle Foreman, Dr. Farah Griffin; my fellow feminist scholars: Dr. Gayle Wald, Dr. Sonnet Retman and so many others – we inspire each other every day!

What does it mean to be extraordinary? We might think about the power of the extra – to lift us up out of complacency, out of despondency, out of the ordinary – to make us feel more and see the world anew.

How do you hope to inspire the next generation of women? I hope my work as a black feminist cultural critic touches readers and students in a way that reminds them of how powerful and transformative music, theater, literature – the arts can be. Expressive forms allow us to rehearse ways to articulate how the world might be - how it ought to be. They are the forms that enable us to engage in speculative dreaming.

What motivates you to do your extraordinary work?

- a riveting performance

- a song that stops me in my tracks

- a film that keeps me up at night

- a book that creates a whole new universe

- my students who are THE FUTURE – our best HOPE


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