Kathryn Sophia Belle


I'm India Lorrie Wilmot. And you're listening to the PODCAST TALKING. Journeys out belonging to blackness. Joining us today is Dr Catherine Sophia Bell. Catherine is associate professor of philosophy at Penn State with research and teaching interests in African American Afrikaner Philosophy African American Studies African Diaspora studies lack feminist philosophy and critical philosophy of race. She's an author. Co Founding Editor of the Journal Critical Philosophy of race a certified Yoga instructor in founding director in owner of La Belle. Be Coaching which Offers Executive Academic coaching workshops and retreats for administrators faculty and Graduate Students. Catherine also offers services specifically under happily unmarried and erotic empowerment that provide individual and Week Group. Coaching workshops and retreats designed to support the social emotional and physical wellbeing of her clients. Thank you for having me Katherine. Let me tell you. I just love the way. You're able to demonstrate for so many folks out there. How one in academic can be multifaceted in dynamic right. Don't sit at a desk. Let's read in on this thing right and then also to how as an African descended person and woman how he can truly embrace and live in your truth when it comes to your personal relationships and partnerships and even with yourself as it is the case with happily unmarried and then I love this and open to the sixty nine ways to embrace ecstasy. Yeah I mean there's more but sixty nine such a fun number and then I'm also my son. Signed his cancer and sign kind of looks like a sixty nine so I like playing with things like Bat. I love that. And so all of this falls under your business tagline philosophical purposeful and practical approaches to La Shelby. The good life. All of that fantastic. I'm so excited to have you here. Because you are such a brilliant scholar and you also have this really great. Entrepreneurial Mindset as well. I think our audience here will just enjoy listening to your journey as to how you've been able to combine these two passions. It seems to me I love it will fall right into our first segment. If you don't mind because I have so many different kinds of questions and thoughts act one call to adventure so for our listening audience. Who may not know you changed your last name from Gyns. Yes to bell and bell spelled with an extra e honor your maternal grandmother and and as I understand your maternal grandmother named herself. And Yeah and you see this active. Changing your name as a way to honor that power and legacies. Yes well first let me say I absolutely love my name. I mean every time I see it written down Catherine Sophia Bell like I get excited at the sight of my own name. So in terms of motivations oftentimes our names are patrilineal right. So many not necessarily all women are given the name of your father in. May Take on the name of their husband and that was my experience. So my initial given name was Catherine Theresa Johnson. My mother wanted the name Catherine after her mother my father wanted to name you theresa and then Johnson was his name. So that was my maiden name I got married in. Nineteen Ninety nine at the age of twenty one between my first and second semesters in Grad School and at that point I changed my last name to guidelines which was the name of the former husband I got legally divorced in twenty seventeen and I'm now berry happily unmarried. And rather than returning somebody that patrilineal name I mate name. I decided to go with a match. Lineal named honor my maternal grandmother so her initial given name was Katherine Smallwood. Which was my great grandmother's last name. Smallwood. But by the time she got the high school she changed her name's Katherine L. B. E. L. L. Now I have no idea how she went about changing it or even if she went through some legal process to do that but my mother got me a copy of her high school yearbook class of Nineteen Fifty two where in that yearbook so by the time. She got her senior in high school. Her name is listed as Catherine Bell. And so there's something really powerful to me about this black woman in the nineteen young black woman in the nineteen fifties by her senior in high school Made her name Kathryn Bell. And that's the name that she's recognized as you know later in life she. She went on to model. She showed up in jet magazine a few times and her name is Catherine Bell knows faces as well. You know that was just a powerful legacy to me and it was important Tap into in connect to that legacy empower naming oneself Have a match lineal name as hopes to patrilineal name. I'm so I changed my name Catherine. I actually dropped the middle name. Interestingly my mother when I was changing my last name she was like. Oh well I never really liked Teresa anyway. That was your father's toys. That would choice so she got a chance to rename me. My Middle Name Sophia. She recommended because she said you're Lhasa. In philosophy us so you can be Sophia. My Mother's middle initial is S. My two daughters have the middle initial s so we were able to share that s middle initial further sophia in the bell It's still sounds the same as the way. My maternal grandmother founded by added the extra e. Just a little bit of self friendship over the meaning of beauty. I think evidence that there was so much thoughtfulness and care. Yeah even your process to say okay. How do I go about changing my name because even when we go through relationships such as marriage? And you're going through the divorce there is a lot of conscious thought around. Do People keep their names Ryan or even when you're getting married forget about even when you're getting divorced but like when you're getting married some people choose to keep their name drop the name in my case I hyphenated. I've even attended a wedding where the husband and the wife decided to both hyphenate their names just so that it would on paper as well as the presentation of this new joined. Family Union Unit. That it wasn't that someone was giving up but they were just more so adding naming oneself is so powerful. I mean I can't help but to even reflect on scene in routes where yes lavar. Burton is as as Coon to Kim. Tae Is being whipped. He ends. It's you know this holder of active submission. That's trying to happen with him being beaten because he refused the naming Tober right and he's like Kota Day trying to be broken. Think about that example. I also think about the example with Muhammed Ali. Right where he's like. You know. Say My name. Say My name right before the destiny's child came out with it up. You know what I mean and so yeah. I'm not GonNa say that that you know the cultural model my mind that I figured I'd put that out there. Once I said it I was like okay. This is GonNa be the connection that comes up celebrities name that too. But that's not quite what I have in mind right. There is something and I think we have more examples of men doing that than or the example of men don't eat more celebrated than examples of women during that but definitely for me like I look forward to dropping the maiden name when I took on the Mary name but I also very much look forward to dropping the Mary name and renaming my for me. It was another beginning for me. Like who am I in this new chapter this new iteration of our life? And how can this naming process a reflection of that kind of a launching point for me for that? So that's been beautiful. Young kids is all about identity. And the all these different phases and stages just you know what does our about us and then our names judge. We're judged by our names whether we're applying for different jobs or positions. I mean their scores and You know them very well. Also but their scores of research studies and the employment field that talked about racial bias and discrimination based on candidates nate. I think that's a fantastic way to pay homage to her legacy. Thank you

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