Chawne Kimber

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Professor Chawne Monique Kimber /ʃɔːn/[1] is an African-American mathematician and quilter,[2] known for expressing her political activism in her quilts.[3][4] She is a professor at Lafayette College, where she heads the department of mathematics.[5]

Education and career[edit]

Kimber comes from a family of cotton farmers and quilters in Alabama.[4][6] Although she writes that she "always loved math", she began her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida by studying engineering before switching to mathematics because she found it more fulfilling.[7] She earned a master's degree at the University of North Carolina in 1995, as a student of Idris Assani.[8] She returned to the University of Florida for doctoral studies, completing her Ph.D. in 1999. Her dissertation, Prime Ideals in Rings of Continuous Functions, connects abstract algebra with functional analysis and was supervised by Jorge Martinez.[9]

After a term as Van Vleck Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Wesleyan College, she joined Lafayette College as an assistant professor.[8] In mathematics, she is known for incorporating concepts of social justice into her classroom teaching.[7][10]


Kimber began quilting in 2005, soon after completing her application for tenure at Lafayette, and her interest in quilting was renewed in 2007 by the death of her father. In 2008 she began creating highly politicized quilts and blogging about them,[6] beginning with a series of quilts inspired by George Carlin's seven dirty words and by racist and sexist graffiti on her college campus.[11][12] Her work has been associated with the "modern Quilting" movement, based on its geometric design and provocative content.[13]

Kimber's quilts are frequently included at quilting shows and museum exhibits of quilting. The Paul Mellon Arts Center put up a show of her works in 2018.[6][14] One of her quilts inspired by the death of Eric Garner won first place at QuiltCon West in 2016,[4] and was included with other pieces by Kimber in a show on "Quilts and Human Rights" at the Pick Museum of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University.[15] As well as quilting, Kimber has also exhibited quilting-inspired works of mathematical origami.[16][17]


  1. ^ "The Beautiful Mind of Chawne Kimber - MQG Community".
  2. ^ Lamb, Evelyn (October 11, 2018), "Math, Quilting and Activism: Mathematician Chawne Kimber shares her favorite theorems and quilts that make a statement", Scientific American
  3. ^ Hlohowskyj, Maria (February 2, 2017), "The Colorful, Radical Quilts of Chawne Kimber", Women Arts
  4. ^ a b c Gelt, Jessica (February 20, 2016), "These quilts with messages about gun violence and racial injustice issues aim to discomfort", Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ Chawne Kimber, Lafayette College, retrieved 2018-10-11
  6. ^ a b c Neitz, Katie (Summer 2018), "Beautiful and Powerful: Prof. Chawne Kimber stitches messaging about censorship, social injustice, and racism into layers of colorful cotton", Lafayette Magazine, Lafayette College
  7. ^ a b Lum, Lydia (May 3, 2011), "Scholar Combines Math and Social Justice in the Classroom", Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
  8. ^ a b Williams, Scott W., "Chawne Kimber", Black Women in Mathematics, University at Buffalo, retrieved 2018-10-11
  9. ^ Chawne Kimber at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  10. ^ Grose, Ben (October 28, 2013), "Adding Diversity to Curricula, Starting in the Classrooms", The Chronicle of Higher Education
  11. ^ Dampier, Cindy (April 4, 2017), "Uniting politically divided quilters, stitch by stitch", Chicago Tribune
  12. ^ May, Rachel (2014), "Chawne Kimber: How Words Matter", Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community, Storey Publishing, pp. 82–83, ISBN 9781612120638
  13. ^ Cox, Meg (May 9, 2013), "'Modern Quilters' Stress Simplicity, Edgy Subjects: Quilting's new-wave movement focuses on provocative material; fury at the 'F' word", Wall Street Journal
  14. ^ Bocek, Sasha (January 26, 2018), "Not Your Grandmother's Quilt: Chawne Kimber's Radical Knits", The Choate News
  15. ^ "Pick Museum unveils quilt exhibit with a visit from Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr.", NIU Today, Northern Illinois University, September 25, 2017
  16. ^ "Chawne Kimber and Ethan Berkove: Weaves and Whorls", Mathematical Art Galleries: 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings, The Bridges Organization, 2014, retrieved 2018-10-11
  17. ^ Bruce, Kathy; Okaya, Michiko (2013), Crease, Fold, and Bend (PDF), Lafayette Art Galleries, p. 18

External links[edit]