In the 1980s, Italy transformed from a country of emigration to one of immigration. Italians are now faced daily with the presence of migrants from all over Africa, parts of South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. While much attention has been paid to the impact on Italians, few studies have focused on the agency of migrants themselves. In An Alliance of Women, Heather Merrill investigates how migrants and Italians struggle over meanings and negotiate social and cultural identities.
Taking as a starting point the Italian crisis over immigration in the early 1990s, Merrill examines grassroots interethnic spatial politics among female migrants and Turin feminists in Northern Italy. Using rich ethnographic material, she traces the emergence of Alma Mater—an anti-racist organization formed to address problems encountered by migrant women. Through this analysis, Merrill reveals the dynamics of an alliance consisting of women from many countries of origin and religious and class backgrounds.
Highlighting an interdisciplinary approach to migration and the instability of group identities in contemporary Italy, An Alliance of Women presents migrants grappling with spatialized boundaries amid growing nativist and anti-immigrant sentiment in Western Europe.
Heather Merrill is assistant professor of geography and anthropology at Dickinson College.
The Animal Indoors
Carly Inghram Autumn House Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3609.N4647A84 2021 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Poems following a Black queer woman as she seeks refuge from an unsafe world.
Carly Inghram’s poems explore the day-to-day experiences of a Black queer woman who is ceaselessly bombarded with images of mass-consumerism, white supremacy, and sexism, and who is forced, often reluctantly, back indoors and away from this outside chaos. The poems in The Animal Indoors seek to understand and define the boundaries between our inside and outside lives, critiquing the homogenization and increasing insincerity of American culture and considering what safe spaces exist for Black women. The speaker in these poems seeks refuge, working to keep the interior safe until we can reckon with the world outside, until the speaker is able to “unleash the indoor news onto the unclean water elsewhere.”
The Animal Indoors won the 2020 CAAPP Book Prize, selected by Terrance Hayes.
The defining quality of Black womanhood is strength, states Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant in Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman. But, she argues, the idea of strength undermines its real function: to defend and maintain a stratified social order by obscuring Black women’s experiences of suffering, acts of desperation, and anger. This provocative book lays bare the common perception that strength is an exemplary or defining quality of “authentic” Black womanhood.
The author, a noted sociologist, interviews 58 Black women about being strong and proud, to illustrate their “performance” of invulnerability. Beauboeuf-Lafontant explains how such behavior leads to serious symptoms for these women, many of whom suffer from eating disorders and depression.
Drawing on Black feminist scholarship, cultural studies, and women’s history, Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman traces the historical and social influences of normative Black femininity, looking at how notions of self-image and strength create a distraction from broader forces of discrimination and power.
Emancipation, manumission, and complex legalities surrounding slavery led to a number of women of color achieving a measure of freedom and prosperity from the 1600s through the 1800s. These black women held property in places like Suriname and New Orleans, headed households in Brazil, enjoyed religious freedom in Peru, and created new selves and new lives across the Caribbean. Beyond Bondage outlines the restricted spheres within which free women of color, by virtue of gender and racial restrictions, carved out many kinds of existences. Although their freedom--represented by respectability, opportunity, and the acquisition of property--always remained precarious, the essayists support the surprising conclusion that women of color often sought and obtained these advantages more successfully than their male counterparts.
Hashtag or trademark, personal or collective expression, #BlackGirlMagic is an articulation of the resolve of Black women and girls to triumph in the face of structural oppressions. The online life of #BlackGirlMagic insists on the visibility of Black women and girls as aspirational figures. But while the notion of Black girl magic spreads in cyberspace, the question remains: how is Black girl magic experienced offline?
The essays in this volume move us beyond social media. They offer critical analyses and representations of the multiplicities of Black femmes’, girls’, and women’s lived experiences. Together the chapters demonstrate how Black girl magic is embodied by four elements enacted both on- and offline: building community, challenging dehumanizing representations, increasing visibility, and offering restorative justice for violence.
Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag shows how Black girls and women foster community, counter invisibility, engage in restorative acts, and create spaces for freedom. Intersectional and interdisciplinary, the contributions in this volume bridge generations and collectively push the boundaries of Black feminist thought.
How Black women’s reproduction became integral to white supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy—and remains key to their dismantling
In the United States, slavery relied on the reproduction and other labors of unfree Black women. Nearly four centuries later, Black reproductivity remains a vital technology for the creation, negotiation, and transformation of sexualized and gendered racial categories. Yet even as Black reproduction has been deployed to resolve the conflicting demands of white supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, Sara Clarke Kaplan argues that it also holds the potential to destabilize the oppressive systems it is supposed to maintain.
The Black Reproductive convenes Black literary and cultural studies with feminist and queer theory to read twentieth- and twenty-first-century texts and images alongside their pre-emancipation counterparts. These provocative, unexpected couplings include how Toni Morrison’s depiction of infanticide regenders Orlando Patterson’s theory of social death, and how Mary Prince’s eighteenth-century fugitive slave narrative is resignified through the representational paradoxes of Gayl Jones’s blues novel Corregidora. Throughout, Kaplan offers new perspectives on Black motherhood and gendered labor, from debates over the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, to the demise of racist icon Aunt Jemima, to discussions of Black reproductive freedom and abortion.
The Black Reproductive gives vital insight into the historic and ongoing conditions of Black unfreedom, and points to the possibilities for a Black feminist practice of individual and collective freedom.
Rooted in the ways Black women understand their lives, this collection archives practices of healing, mothering, and advocacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognizing that Black women have been living in pandemics as far back as colonialism and enslavement, this volume acknowledges that records of the past—from the 1918 flu pandemic to the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic—often erase the existence and experiences of Black women as a whole. Writing against this archival erasure, this collection consciously recenters the real-time experiences and perspectives of care, policy concerns, grief, and joy of Black women throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nineteen contributors from interdisciplinary fields and diverse backgrounds explore Black feminine community, consciousness, ethics of care, spirituality, and social critique. They situate Black women’s multidimensional experiences with COVID-19 and other violences that affect their lives. The stories they tell are connected and interwoven, bound together by anti-Black gendered COVID necropolitics and commitments to creating new spaces for breathing, healing, and wellness.
Ultimately, this time-warping analysis shows how Black women imagine a more just society, rapidly adapt to changing experiences, and innovate ethics of care even in the midst of physical distancing, which can be instructive for thinking of new ways of living both during and beyond the era of COVID-19.
Shamara Wyllie Alhassan
Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards
Candace S. Brown
Rhonda M. Gonzales
Ashley E. Hollingshead
Julia S. Jordan-Zachery
Janaka B. Lewis
Sherine Andreine Powerful
Breauna Marie Spencer
Tehia Starker Glass
In Black Women, Identity, and Cultural Theory, Kevin Everod Quashie explores the metaphor of the “girlfriend” as a new way of understanding three central concepts of cultural studies: self, memory, and language. He considers how the work of writers such as Toni Morrison, Ama Ata Aidoo, Dionne Brand, photographer Lorna Simpson, and many others, inform debates over the concept of identity. Quashie argues that these authors and artists replace the notion of a stable, singular identity with the concept of the self developing in a process both communal and perpetually fluid, a relationship that functions in much the same way that an adult woman negotiates with her girlfriend(s). He suggests that memory itself is corporeal, a literal body that is crucial to the process of becoming. Quashie also explores the problem language poses for the black woman artist and her commitment to a mastery that neither colonizes nor excludes.
The analysis throughout interacts with schools of thought such as psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and post-colonialism, but ultimately moves beyond these to propose a new cultural aesthetic, one that ultimately aims to center black women and their philosophies.
Black Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: Critical Research and Perspectives employs an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to examine Black cisgender women’s social, cultural, economic, and political experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. It presents critical empirical research emphasizing Black women’s innovative, theoretical, and methodological approaches to activism and class-based gendered racism and Black politics. While there are a few single-authored books focused on Black women in Latin American and Caribbean, the vast majority of the scholarship on Black women in Latin America and the Caribbean has been published as theses, dissertations, articles, and book chapters. This volume situates these social and political analyses as interrelated and dialogic and contributes a transnational perspective to contemporary conversations surrounding the continued relevance of Black women as a category of social science inquiry. Many of the contributing authors are from Latin American and Caribbean countries, reflecting a commitment to representing the valuable observations and lived experiences of scholars from this region. When read together, the chapters offer a hemispheric framework for understanding the lasting legacies of colonialism, transatlantic slavery, plantation life, and persistent socio-economic and cultural violence.
An anthropological study of Haitian migrant women’s mobility in the Dominican Republic.
Borders of Visibility offers extremely timely insight into the Dominican Republic’s racist treatment of Haitian descendants within its borders. Jennifer L. Shoaff employs multisited feminist research to focus on the geographies of power that intersect to inform the opportunities and constraints that migrant women must navigate to labor and live within a context that largely denies their human rights, access to citizenship, and a sense of security and belonging.
Paradoxically, these women are both hypervisible because of the blackness that they embody and invisible because they are marginalized by intersecting power inequalities. Haitian women must contend with diffuse legal, bureaucratic and discursive state-local practices across “border” sites that situate them as a specific kind of threat that must be contained. Shoaff examines this dialectic of mobility and containment across various sites in the northwest Dominican Republic, including the official border crossing, transborder and regional used-clothing markets, migrant settlements (bateyes), and other rural-urban contexts.
Shoaff combines ethnographic interviews, participant observation, institutional analyses of state structures and nongovernmental agencies, and archival documentation to bring this human rights issue to the fore. Although primarily grounded in critical ethnographic practice, this work contributes to the larger fields of transnational feminism, black studies, migration and border studies, political economy, and cultural geography. Borders of Visibility brings much needed attention to Haitian migrant women’s economic ingenuity and entrepreneurial savvy, their ability to survive and thrive, their often impossible choices whether to move or to stay, returning them to a place of visibility, while exposing the very structures that continue to render them invisible and, thus, expendable over time.
In the mid-1950s, as many developing nations sought independence from colonial rule, black women in the American South and in South Africa launched parallel campaigns to end racial injustice within their respective communities. Just as the dignified obstinacy of Mrs. Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, the 20,000 South African women who marched in Pretoria a year later to protest the pass laws signaled a new wave of resistance to the system of apartheid. In both places women who had previously been consigned to subordinate roles brought fresh leadership to the struggle for political freedom and social equality. In this book, Pamela E. Brooks tells their story, documenting the extraordinary achievements of otherwise ordinary women.In comparing the experiences of black women activists in two different parts of the African diaspora, Brooks draws heavily on oral histories that provide clear, and often painful, insight into their backgrounds, their motives, their hopes, and their fears. We learn how black women from all walks of life—domestic and factory workers, householders, teachers, union organizers, churchwomen, clubwomen, rural and urban dwellers alike—had to overcome their class differences and work through the often difficult gender relations within their families and communities. Yet eventually they came together to forge their own political organizations, such as the Women's Political Council and the Federation of South African Women, or joined orga-nizations of women and men, such as the Montgomery Improvement Association and the African National Congress, to advance the common agenda of black liberation.By tracing the dual rise of political consciousness and activism among the black women of the U.S. South and South Africa, Brooks not only illuminates patterns that have long been overlooked but places that shared history within the context of a larger global struggle to bring an end to the vestiges of European colonialism.
CaShawn Thompson crafted Black Girls Are Magic as a proclamation of Black women’s resilience in 2013. Less than five years later, it had been repurposed as a gateway to an attractive niche market. Branding Black Womanhood: Media Citizenship from Black Power to Black Girl Magic examines the commercial infrastructure that absorbed Thompson’s mantra. While the terminology may have changed over the years, mainstream brands and mass media companies have consistently sought to acknowledge Black women’s possession of a distinct magic or power when it suits their profit agendas.
Beginning with the inception of the Essence brand in the late 1960s, Timeka N. Tounsel examines the individuals and institutions that have reconfigured Black women’s empowerment as a business enterprise. Ultimately, these commercial gatekeepers have constructed an image economy that operates as both a sacred space for Black women and an easy hunting ground for their dollars.
Yvette Christiansë Duke University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3553.H7286C37 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In Castaway Yvette Christiansë presents an epic yet fragmented poetic story set off the coast of Africa on the island of St. Helena: Napoleon Bonaparte’s final place of exile, a port of call for the slave trade, and birthplace of the poet’s grandmother. Amid echoes of racialized identity and issues of displacement, the poems in Castaway speak with a multiplicity of voices—from Ferñao Lopez (the island’s first exile) and Napoleon to that of a contemporary black woman. Castaway is simultaneously a song of discovery, an anthem of conquest, and a tortured lamentation of exiles and slaves. Instead of offering a linear narrative, Christiansë renders the poems as if they were emerging from the pages of imaginary books, documents now disrupted and scattered. An emperor’s point of view is juxtaposed with the perspectives of various explorers, sailors, and unknown slaves until finally they all open upon the book’s “castaway,” the authorial female voice that negotiates a way to write about love and desire after centuries of oppression and exploitation. Daring and sophisticated, Castaway challenges and captivates the reader with not only its lyrical richness and conceptual depth but also its implicit and haunting reflections on diaspora and postcolonialism. It will be highly regarded by readers and writers of poetry and will appeal to those engaged with issues of race, gender, exile, multiculturalism, colonialism, and history.
Home to established African American institutions and communities, Washington, D.C., offered women in the New Negro movement a unique setting for the fight against racial and gender oppression. Colored No More traces how African American women of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century made significant strides toward making the nation's capital a more equal and dynamic urban center.
Treva B. Lindsey presents New Negro womanhood as a multidimensional space that included race women, blues women, mothers, white collar professionals, beauticians, fortune tellers, sex workers, same-gender couples, artists, activists, and innovators. Drawing from these differing but interconnected African American women's spaces, Lindsey excavates a multifaceted urban and cultural history of struggle toward a vision of equality that could emerge and sustain itself. Upward mobility to equal citizenship for African American women encompassed challenging racial, gender, class, and sexuality status quos. Lindsey maps the intersection of these challenges and their place at the core of New Negro womanhood.
Christina N. Baker’s Contemporary Black Women Filmmakers and the Art of Resistance is the first book-length analysis of representations of Black femaleness in the feature films of Black women filmmakers. These filmmakers resist dominant ideologies about Black womanhood, deliberately and creatively reconstructing meanings of Blackness that draw from their personal experiences and create new symbolic meaning of Black femaleness within mainstream culture. Addressing social issues such as the exploitation of Black women in the entertainment industry, the impact of mass incarceration on Black women, political activism, and violence, these films also engage with personal issues as complex as love, motherhood, and sexual identity. Baker argues that their counter-hegemonic representations have the potential to transform the narratives surrounding Black femaleness. At the intersection of Black feminism and womanism, Baker develops a “womanist artistic standpoint” theory, drawing from the work of Alice Walker, Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Kimberlé Crenshaw.
Analyzing the cultural texts of filmmakers such as Ava DuVernay, Tanya Hamilton, Kasi Lemmons, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Dee Rees—and including interviews she conducted with three of the filmmakers—Baker emphasizes the importance of applying an intersectional perspective that centers on the shared experiences of Black women and the role of film as a form of artistic expression and a tool of social resistance.
IIn a long overdue contribution to geography and social theory, Katherine McKittrick offers a new and powerful interpretation of black women’s geographic thought. In Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States, black women inhabit diasporic locations marked by the legacy of violence and slavery. Analyzing diverse literatures and material geographies, McKittrick reveals how human geographies are a result of racialized connections, and how spaces that are fraught with limitation are underacknowledged but meaningful sites of political opposition.
Demonic Grounds moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade. Specifically, the author addresses the geographic implications of slave auction blocks, Harriet Jacobs’s attic, black Canada and New France, as well as the conceptual spaces of feminism and Sylvia Wynter’s philosophies.
Central to McKittrick’s argument are the ways in which black women are not passive recipients of their surroundings and how a sense of place relates to the struggle against domination. Ultimately, McKittrick argues, these complex black geographies are alterable and may provide the opportunity for social and cultural change.
Katherine McKittrick is assistant professor of women’s studies at Queen’s University.
Ubiquitous illegal lotteries known as policy flourished in Chicago’s Black community during the overlapping waves of the Great Migration. Policy “queens” owned stakes in lucrative operations while women writers and clerks canvased the neighborhood, passed out winnings, and kept the books.
Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach examines the complexities of Black women’s work in policy gambling. Policy provided Black women with a livelihood for themselves and their families. At the same time, navigating gender expectations, aggressive policing, and other hazards of the infromal economy led them to refashion ideas about Black womanhood and respectability. Policy earnings also funded above-board enterprises ranging from neighborhood businesses to philanthropic institutions, and Schlabach delves into the various ways Black women straddled the illegal policy business and reputable community involvement.
Vivid and revealing, Dream Books and Gamblers tells the stories of Black women in the underground economy and how they used their work to balance the demands of living and laboring in Black Chicago.
Alberta Henry (1920–2005) was born in a sharecropper’s shack in segregated Louisiana before moving with her family to Kansas where she grew up in a climate of hardship and hostile racial bigotry that forced second-class citizenship on African Americans.
Henry endured intolerance by leaning on her faith and her commitment to a cause that she believed God had called her to follow. When she came to Utah in 1949 she thought it would be a brief stay, but she ended up making it her home for more than fifty years. In Utah, Henry committed herself to helping all races, religions, and ethnic groups coexist in appreciation of each other. While Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X led the struggle for civil rights at a national level, Alberta Henry campaigned tirelessly for equality at a local level, talking at school board meetings, before city councils, and in the homes of her neighbors.
Henry was a member or officer of more than forty civic organizations and served for twelve years as president of the Salt Lake City branch of the NAACP, where she lobbied for civil rights, education, and justice. The dozens of awards and commendations she received speak to her accomplishments. While much of Henry’s story is told in her own words, Colleen Whitley provides expert and personal context to her speeches, writing, and interviews. The result is an exceptional first-person account of an African American woman leader and her role in the Civil Rights Movement in Utah.
Questions traditional assumptions about power and agency in slave women's everyday lives.
Through their open defiance, women like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth had a significant impact on the institution of slavery. But what of the countless other women who did not commit public or even private acts of resistance? Are their stories worthy of our attention? While some scholars imply that only the struggle for freedom was legitimate, Jenny Sharpe complicates the linear narrative-from slavery to freedom and literacy-that emerged from the privileging of autobiographical accounts like that of Frederick Douglass. She challenges a paradigm that equates agency with resistance and self-determination, and introduces new ways to examine negotiations for power within the constraints of slavery.
In Ghosts of Slavery, Sharpe introduces a wider range of everyday practices by examining the lives of three distinctive Caribbean women: a maroon leader, a mulatto concubine, and a fugitive slave. Through them she explains how the diasporic experience of slavery enabled black women to claim an authority that they didn't possess in Africa; how concubines empowered themselves through their mimicry of white women; and how less-privileged slave women manipulated situations that they were powerless to change. Finding the highly mediated portrayal of slave women in the historical records limited and sometimes misleading, Sharpe turns to unconventional sources for investigating these women's lives. In this fascinating and historically rich account, she calls for new strategies of reading that question traditional narratives of history, and she finds alternative ways to integrate oral storytelling, slave songs, travel writing, court documents, proslavery literature, and contemporary literature into black history.
Ultimately, this layered approach not only produces a more complex picture of the slave women's agency than conventional readings, it encourages a more nuanced understanding of the roles of slaves in the history of slavery.
Jenny Sharpe is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text (1993).
Winner of The Association of Black Women Historians 2020 Letitia Woods-Brown Award for the best book in African American Women’s History and the 2021 Western Association of Women Historian's Barbara "Penny" Kanner Award
2021 Finalist for the Harriet Tubman Book Prize
2020 Finalist Berkshire Conference ofWomen Historians Book Prize
Details how African-descended women’s societal, marital, and sexual decisions forever reshaped the racial makeup of Argentina
Argentina promotes itself as a country of European immigrants. This makes it an exception to other Latin American countries, which embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and that of their children.
Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in Córdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.
This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.
In the last decade, the South African state has been transformed dramatically, but the stubborn, menacing geography of apartheid still stands in the way of that country’s visions of change. Environmentally degraded old homelands still scar the rural geography of South Africa.
Formerly segregated, now gated, neighborhoods still inhibit free movement. Hostels, Sexuality, and the Apartheid Legacy is a study of another such space, the converted “male” migrant worker hostel.
Professor Glen Elder identifies hostels as sites of public and domestic violence, literal destruction and rebuilding, and as an important node in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Hostels have also become home to increasing numbers of “invisible” female residents. Finding that one way to understand hostel space is through women’s experiences, Professor Elder turned to thirty black migrant women living in an East Rand hostel to map the everyday geographies of South Africa’s time of change.
By following the lives of these women, Elder identifies spatialized forms of marginalization, impoverishment, infection, and disempowerment. But, as he points out, the women’s survival strategies may provide signposts to the way out of apartheid’s malevolent geography.
Hostels, Sexuality, and the Apartheid Legacy argues that the gendered geography of the migrant labor system developed in South Africa was premised upon sexual assumptions about men, women, and their bodies, and that feminist and queer analyses of space can inform public policy decisions.
In Praise of Black Women is a magnificent tribute to women in Africa and the African diaspora from the ancient past to the present. Lavishly illustrated, with text written and selected by the celebrated Guadeloupian novelist Simone Schwarz-Bart, this four-volume series celebrates remarkable women who distinguished themselves in their time and shaped the course of culture and history. Volume 1: Ancient African Queens weaves together oral tradition, folk legends and stories, songs and poems, historical accounts, and travelers’ tales from Egypt to southern Africa, from prehistory to the nineteenth century. These women rulers, warriors, and heroines include Amanirenas, the queen of Kush who battled Roman armies and defeated them at Aswan; Daurama, mother of the seven Hausa kingdoms; Amina Kulibali, founder of the Gabu dynasty in Senegal; Ana de Sousa Nzinga, who resisted the Portuguese conquest of Angola; Beatrice Kimpa Vita, a Kongo prophet burned at the stake by Christian missionaries; Nanda, mother of the famous warrior-king Shaka Zulu; and many others.
These extraordinary women's stories, narrated in the style of African oral tradition, are absorbing, informative, and accessible. The abundant illustrations, many of them rare archival images, depict the diversity among Black women and make this volume a unique treasure for every art lover, every school, and every family.
The countless retellings and reimaginings of the private and public lives of Phillis Wheatley, Sally Hemings, Sarah Baartman, Mary Seacole, and Sarah Forbes Bonetta have transformed them into difficult cultural and black feminist icons. In Infamous Bodies, Samantha Pinto explores how histories of these black women and their ongoing fame generate new ways of imagining black feminist futures. Drawing on a variety of media, cultural, legal, and critical sources, Pinto shows how the narratives surrounding these eighteenth- and nineteenth-century celebrities shape key political concepts such as freedom, consent, contract, citizenship, and sovereignty. Whether analyzing Wheatley's fame in relation to conceptions of race and freedom, notions of consent in Hemings's relationship with Thomas Jefferson, or Baartman's ability to enter into legal contracts, Pinto reveals the centrality of race, gender, and sexuality in the formation of political rights. In so doing, she contends that feminist theories of black women's vulnerable embodiment can be the starting point for future progressive political projects.
Following the innovative collection Spill, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's M Archive—the second book in a planned experimental triptych—is a series of poetic artifacts that speculatively documents the persistence of Black life following a worldwide cataclysm. Engaging with the work of the foundational Black feminist theorist M. Jacqui Alexander, and following the trajectory of Gumbs's acclaimed visionary fiction short story “Evidence,” M Archive is told from the perspective of a future researcher who uncovers evidence of the conditions of late capitalism, antiblackness, and environmental crisis while examining possibilities of being that exceed the human. By exploring how Black feminist theory is already after the end of the world, Gumbs reinscribes the possibilities and potentials of scholarship while demonstrating the impossibility of demarcating the lines between art, science, spirit, scholarship, and politics.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Black German women began to play significant roles in challenging the discrimination in their own nation and abroad. Their grassroots organizing, writings, and political and cultural activities nurtured innovative traditions, ideas, and practices. These strategies facilitated new, often radical bonds between people from disparate backgrounds across the Black Diaspora.
Tiffany N. Florvil examines the role of queer and straight women in shaping the contours of the modern Black German movement as part of the Black internationalist opposition to racial and gender oppression. Florvil shows the multifaceted contributions of women to movement making, including Audre Lorde’s role in influencing their activism; the activists who inspired Afro-German women to curate their own identities and histories; and the evolution of the activist groups Initiative of Black Germans and Afro-German Women. These practices and strategies became a rallying point for isolated and marginalized women (and men) and shaped the roots of contemporary Black German activism.
Richly researched and multidimensional in scope, Mobilizing Black Germany offers a rare in-depth look at the emergence of the modern Black German movement and Black feminists’ politics, intellectualism, and internationalism.
For most of the twentieth century, Brazil was widely regarded as a "racial democracy"-a country untainted by the scourge of racism and prejudice. In recent decades, however, this image has been severely critiqued, with a growing number of studies highlighting persistent and deep-seated patterns of racial discrimination and inequality. Yet, recent work on race and racism has rarely considered gender as part of its analysis.
In Negras in Brazil, Kia Lilly Caldwell examines the life experiences of Afro-Brazilian women whose stories have until now been largely untold. This pathbreaking study analyzes the links between race and gender and broader processes of social, economic, and political exclusion. Drawing on ethnographic research with social movement organizations and thirty-five life history interviews, Caldwell explores the everyday struggles Afro-Brazilian women face in their efforts to achieve equal rights and full citizenship. She also shows how the black women's movement, which has emerged in recent decades, has sought to challenge racial and gender discrimination in Brazil. While proposing a broader view of citizenship that includes domains such as popular culture and the body, Negras in Brazil highlights the continuing relevance of identity politics for members of racially marginalized communities. Providing new insights into black women's social activism and a gendered perspective on Brazilian racial dynamics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Latin American Studies, African diaspora studies, women's studies, politics, and cultural anthropology.
In Bahia, Brazil, the decades following emancipation saw the rise of reformers who sought to reshape the citizenry by educating Bahian women in methods for raising “better babies.” The idealized Brazilian would be better equipped to contribute to the labor and organizational needs of a modern nation. Backed by many physicians, politicians, and intellectuals, the resulting welfare programs for mothers and children mirrored complex debates about Brazilian nationality. Examining the local and national contours of this movement, Progressive Mothers, Better Babies investigates families, medical institutions, state-building, and social stratification to trace the resulting policies, which gathered momentum in the aftermath of abolition (1888) and the declaration of the First Republic (1889), culminating during the administration of President Getúlio Vargas (1930–1945).
Exploring the cultural discourses on race, gender, and poverty that permeated medical knowledge and the public health system for almost a century, Okezi T. Otovo draws on extensive archival research to reconstruct the implications for Bahia, where family patronage politics governed poor women’s labor as the mothers who were the focus of medical interventions were often the nannies and nursemaids of society’s wealthier families. The book reveals key transition points as the state of Bahia transformed from being a place where poor families could expect few social services to becoming the home of numerous programs targeting the poorest mothers and their children. Negotiating crucial questions of identity, this history sheds new light on larger debates about Brazil’s past and future.
Black women living in the French empire played a key role in the decolonial movements of the mid-twentieth century. Thinkers and activists, these women lived lives of commitment and risk that landed them in war zones and concentration camps and saw them declared enemies of the state. Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel mines published writings and untapped archives to reveal the anticolonialist endeavors of seven women. Though often overlooked today, Suzanne Césaire, Paulette Nardal, Eugénie Éboué-Tell, Jane Vialle, Andrée Blouin, Aoua Kéita, and Eslanda Robeson took part in a forceful transnational movement. Their activism and thought challenged France's imperial system by shaping forms of citizenship that encouraged multiple cultural and racial identities. Expanding the possibilities of belonging beyond national and even Francophone borders, these women imagined new pan-African and pan-Caribbean identities informed by black feminist intellectual frameworks and practices. The visions they articulated also shifted the idea of citizenship itself, replacing a single form of collective identity and political participation with an expansive plurality of forms of belonging.
Tired of being scrutinized, criticized, and fetishized for her black skin, Cameroon-born scholar Geneviève Makaping turns the tables on Italy’s white majority, regarding them through the same unsparing gaze to which minorities have traditionally been subjected. As she candidly recounts her experiences—first across Africa and then as a migrant Black woman in Italy—Makaping describes acts of racist aggression that are wearying and degrading to encounter on a daily basis. She also offers her perspective on how various forms of inequality based on race, color, gender, and class feed off each other. Reversing the Gaze invites readers to confront the question of racism through the retelling of everyday occurrences that we might have experienced as victims, perpetrators, or witnesses.
Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out is an English translation of the German book Farbe bekennen edited by author May Ayim, Katharina Oguntoye, and Dagmar Schultz. It is the first published book by Afro-Germans. It is the first written use of the term Afro-German.
Pentecostalism is currently the fastest-growing Christian movement, with hundreds of millions of followers. This growth overwhelmingly takes place outside of the West, and women make up 75 percent of the membership. The contributors to Spirit on the Move examine Pentecostalism's appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community and access to power. Exploring a range of topics, from Neo-Pentecostal churches in Ghana that help women challenge gender norms to evangelical gospel musicians in Brazil, the contributors show how Pentecostalism helps black women draw attention to and seek remediation from the violence and injustices brought on by civil war, capitalist exploitation, racism, and the failures of the state. In fleshing out the experiences, theologies, and innovations of black women Pentecostals, the contributors show how Pentecostal belief and its various practices reflect the movement's complexity, reach, and adaptability to specific cultural and political formations.
Contributors. Paula Aymer, John Burdick, Judith Casselberry, Deidre Helen Crumbley, Elizabeth McAlister, Laura Premack, Elizabeth A. Pritchard, Jane Soothill, Linda van de Kamp
A unique and important study, Stepping Forward examines the experiences of nineteenth- and twentieth-century black women in Africa and African diaspora communities from a variety of perspectives in a number of different settings.
This wide-ranging collection designed for classroom use explores the broad themes that have shaped black women’s goals, options, and responses: religion, education, political activism, migration, and cultural transformation. Essays by leading scholars in the field examine the lives of black women in the United States and the Caribbean Basin; in the white settler societies of Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; and in the black settler societies of Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Among the contributors to this volume are historians, political scientists, and scholars of literature, music, and law. What emerges from their work is an image of black women’s agency, self-reliance, and resiliency. Despite cultural differences and geographical variations, black women have provided foundations on which black communities have not only survived, but also thrived. Stepping Forward is a valuable addition to our understanding of women’s roles in these diverse communities.
In 2014 Barbados introduced a vaccine to prevent certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and reduce the risk of cervical cancer in young women. Despite the disproportionate burden of cervical cancer in the Caribbean, many Afro-Barbadians chose not to immunize their daughters. In Suspicion, Nicole Charles reframes Afro-Barbadian vaccine refusal from a question of hesitancy to one of suspicion. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, black feminist theory, transnational feminist studies and science and technology studies, Charles foregrounds Afro-Barbadians' gut feelings and emotions and the lingering trauma of colonial and biopolitical violence. She shows that suspicion, far from being irrational, is a fraught and generative affective orientation grounded in concrete histories of mistrust of government and coercive medical practices foisted on colonized peoples. By contextualizing suspicion within these longer cultural and political histories, Charles troubles traditional narratives of vaccine hesitancy while offering new entry points into discussions on racialized biopolitics, neocolonialism, care, affect, and biomedicine across the Black diaspora.
Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient
To Defend this Sunrise examines how black women on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua engage in regional, national, and transnational modes of activism to remap the nation’s racial order under conditions of increasing economic precarity and autocracy. The book considers how, since the 19th century, black women activists have resisted historical and contemporary patterns of racialized state violence, economic exclusion, territorial dispossession, and political repression. Specifically, it explores how the new Sandinista state under Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has utilized multicultural rhetoric as a mode of political, economic, and territorial dispossession. In the face of the Sandinista state’s co-optation of multicultural discourse and growing authoritarianism, black communities have had to recalibrate their activist strategies and modes of critique to resist these new forms of “multicultural dispossession.” This concept describes the ways that state actors and institutions drain multiculturalism of its radical, transformative potential by espousing the rhetoric of democratic recognition while simultaneously supporting illiberal practices and policies that undermine black political demands and weaken the legal frameworks that provide the basis for the claims of these activists against the state.
Unbought and Unbossed critically examines the ways black women writers in the 1970s and early 1980s deploy black female characters that transgress racial, gender, and especially sexual boundaries. Trimiko Melancon analyzes literary and cultural texts, including Toni Morrison’s Sula and Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place, in the socio-cultural and historical moments of their production. She shows how representations of black women in the American literary and cultural imagination diverge from stereotypes and constructions of “whiteness,” as well as constructions of female identity imposed by black nationalism.
Drawing from black feminist and critical race theories, historical discourses on gender and sexuality, and literary criticism, Melancon explores the variety and complexity of black female identity. She illuminates how authors including Ann Allen Shockley, Alice Walker, and Gayl Jones engage issues of desire, intimacy, and independence to shed light on a more complex black identity, one ungoverned by rigid politics over-determined by race, gender and sexuality.