Centering Care

Aunties as Praxis within the Academic Space


  • Lydia Curliss University of Maryland, College Park
  • Twanna Hodge University of Maryland, College Park



Auntie as praxis, Community building, Care as Rebellion


In coming to care and community work, we want first to ground ourselves in our positions. The identities we share are those of BIPOC (one of us is Afro-Caribbean, and the other is a member of the Nipmuc tribe) Ph.D. students within the field of Information Studies, prior Academic Librarians, and non-Maryland residents. In her book Community as Rebellion, Dr. Peña posits that one of the roles of BIPOC women is to be aunties to our colleagues, students, and ourselves. As defined by us, the use of Auntie refers to those within our communities who provide guidance, mentorship, and care inside and outside of legally defined familial or biological relationships. While the term “Auntie” has a racially charged history in the U.S., Dr. Peña’s call, points toward a radical community notion of the term Auntie that centers the experience and understandings of BIPOC communities. This poster investigates the ways in which the structural systems of white classist, heteronormative, patriarchy affect our relationship within the academy and our research and the ways we take on the roles as our own Aunties to build community, center care, and move towards a more liberatory and equitable academic space.


Peña, L. G. (2022). Community as Rebellion: A Syllabus for Surviving Academia as a Woman of Color. Haymarket Books.






Works in Progress Posters