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National journal publishes NMSU doctoral student’s article on symbols of African womanhood



Mavis Beckson, an NMSU doctoral student studying rhetoric and professional communication with a minor in gender and sexuality studies, had her article “Transforming Feminist Narratives and Participation of African Marginalized Women through Ceremonial Beads” published in a national, peer-reviewed journal. (Courtesy photo)


Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Mavis Boatemaa Beckson is the first in her family to pursue a Ph.D. and the fourth to pursue higher education.

Her research at New Mexico State University focuses on the intersection of different socio-political practices and varied cultural backgrounds that influence the experiences of Black and non-Western women. The results of her work have been recognized with publication in a national journal.

Her journal article, “Transforming Feminist Narratives and Participation of African Marginalized Women through Ceremonial Beads,” is featured in the June issue of “Peitho: The Journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition.”

“Peitho is a well-respected and competitive journal in the rhetoric and composition studies, which publishes cutting edge feminist research,” said Kellie Sharp-Hoskins, associate professor of English and director of the rhetoric and professional communication graduate programs.

““This work is crucial to the field as it grapples with rhetorical inquiry on a transnational scale and reconsiders the definitional and methodological commonplaces necessary to this work.”

Beckson is a third-year Ph.D. student studying rhetoric and professional communication in the Department of English with a minor in gender and sexuality studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I envision my program of study as an opportunity to interrogate concepts related to anti-racist and decolonizing work while examining the various forms of knowledge production essential to understanding the experiences of Black and non-Western educators and students operating within and across a number of institutions and public spaces,” Beckson said.

Based off this inspiration, Beckson’s article, “reflects on the materiality of the body and object (beads), Beckson said. “I show a reconceptualization of the cultural specificity of what feminist activism can look like in a transnational location like Ghana.”

Beckson decided to pursue her Ph.D. at NMSU after a rewarding experience while completing her master’s degree with the support from her advisor, Justine Wells and the English department's Rhetoric and Professional Communication faculty.

“Mavis is an exceptional and hard-working student, and this accomplishment is well-deserved,” said Wells, an English assistant professor.

“Her article makes a much-needed contribution in transnational feminist approaches to rhetoric, and Mavis' work is sure to continue to advance the field at large. We are fortunate to have had Mavis in our M.A. and, now, Ph.D. programs and look forward to her future as a valued colleague in our field.”

Her publication in the competitive peer-reviewed journal represents more than a year of research for Beckson.

“In my perspective, this process can be very tedious, and yet, the most rewarding experience ever,” Beckson said. “I spent a lot of time writing drafts and soliciting feedback from Lauren Rosenberg.”

After graduation in 2023, Beckson hopes to utilize her talents to become a professor of English to help inspire and nurture other young writers.

“I look up to Justine Wells, Manal Hamzeh, and Lauren Rosenberg whose continuous support and encouragement push me to cultivate a zeal for academic excellence. They have influenced my writing in both ethical and professional ways.”