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Layli Maparyan

Associate Professor

Layli Maparyan1010 Urban Life Building
Core Faculty, Women’s Studies Institute
Associated Faculty, Department of African-American Studies
Ph.D., Temple University (1994)
M.S., Penn State University (1991)
B.A., Spelman College (1986)



Layli Maparyan is a womanist in all senses of the word, bringing scholarship, community work, and spiritual practice together in ways that impact the wellbeing of everyday people and the societal and environmental contexts of life.  Her career began as a developmental psychologist with a research emphasis on how multiple marginalized identities – such as race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality – intersect and interact.  An interest in womanism evolved out of this and led her to the field of women’s studies, where themes related to women of color, Africana sexualities, and liberatory cultural expression (for example, Hip Hop) have been her specialization.  More recently, on the basis of invited community involvements, she has shifted her focus to applied womanism and spiritual activism as emerging forms of social change work.  She is currently working on her second book entitled The Womanist Idea.


Fields of Study

Womanism, Applied Womanism, Spiritual Activism, Africana sexualities, Women & Hip Hop, Theory & Praxis of Liberation Psychology, Intellectual and Social History of Kenneth B. & Mamie P. Clark.


Courses Taught

WST 8003 (New Directions in Feminism), WST 4790/6790 (Womanism), WST 4750/6750 (Black Feminist Thought), WST 4780/6780 (African American Lesbian & Gay Activism), WST 4910/6910 (Special Topics, e.g., Women & Hip Hop; The U.S. Social Forum), WST 2010 (Intro to Women’s Studies), GSU 1010 (New Student Orientation).  Courses in development: Womanist Perspectives on Spiritual Activism, Applied Womanist Practicum, Ecowomanism.



The Womanist Reader.  NY: Routledge, 2006.

The Womanist Idea. NY: Routledge, 2011.


Selected Articles

Stephens, Dionne. P., Layli Phillips, and April Few. “Examining African American Female Adolescent Sexuality within Mainstream Hip Hop Culture Using a Womanist-Ecological Model of Human Development.” In Handbook of Feminist Family Studies. Eds. Sally A. Lloyd, April Few, & Katherine R. Allen. Los Angeles: Sage (2009): 160-174.

Phillips, Layli, and Marla R. Stewart. “‘I Am Just So Glad You Are Alive’: New Perspectives on Non-traditional, Non-conforming, and Transgressive Expressions of Gender, Sexuality, and Race among African Americans.” Journal of African American Studies, Vol. 12, No. 4 (2008): 378-400.

Phillips, Layli, and Shomari Olugbala. “ ‘Fighting in He(r) Heels: Sylvia Rivera, Stonewall, Civil Rights, and Liberation.” In The Human Tradition and the Civil Rights Movement, 1865-1980. Ed. Susan Glisson. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield (2006): 309-334.

Phillips, Layli, Kerri Reddick-Morgan and Dionne P. Stephens. “Oppositional Consciousness within an Oppositional Realm: The Case of Feminism and Womanism in Rap and Hip Hop, 1976-2004.“ Journal of African American History. Vol. 90, No. 3 (2005): 253-277.

Phillips, Layli. “Anti-racist Work in the Desegregation Era: The Scientific Activism of Kenneth Bancroft Clark.” In Defining Difference: Race and Racism in the History of Psychology. Ed. A. Winston. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (2004): 233-260.


Board Memberships and Community Leadership

Liberia Working Group of Metro Atlanta, March 2008-present.

·        Co-founded this organization whose mission is to establish collaborative working relationships between community organizations, philanthropists, businesspersons, and academics interested in aiding Liberian women and informing Liberian gender development policy in ways that link people in the U.S. and Liberia, under the presidency of H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, during the post-civil conflict reconstruction era, with an emphasis on collaborations between African American and African women “on both sides of the water.”

Foreverfamily (formerly Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers) National Advisory Board, November 2007-present.

·        Presented an in-service workshop on “Womanist Theory and Praxis” in April 2007, which eventuated in womanism being selected as the philosophical framework for Foreverfamily’s model of service to incarcerated women and men, their children, their extended families, and other caregivers.

Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s Faith, Feminism, and Philanthropy Advisory Board, May 2007- 2009.

·        Co-organized and co-presented (with Prof. Laurie Patton of Emory University) a 10-week community education course entitled “Religions and Economic Justice for Women: Womanist, Feminist, Sacred, and Secular Perspectives,” October 16-November 13, 2007, and February 12-March 11, 2008, which became the foundation of the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting monthly television program, Faith and Feminism, produced by Angela Harrington-Rice, August 2008-May 2009.