Bodies of Evidence: Black Women’s Bodies in the Atlantic World as Sites of Domination, Experimentation, and Resistance

AHA Session 56
Friday, January 4, 2013: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Southdown Room (Sheraton New Orleans)
Celia E. Naylor, Barnard College, Columbia University
Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Session Abstract

Black bodies have been utilized historically as markers for particular racialized, gendered, and sexualized notions of humanity and animality. Slavery, in its various manifestations on the African continent and throughout the Americas, provided a sociocultural, economic, and political foundation upon which to engender and codify intersecting conceptions regarding blackness, womanhood/manhood, motherhood/fatherhood, and sexuality. In this session, utilizing a range of archival sources, panelists explore how Black women’s bodies often represented physical sites of contestation for desire, performance, power, and reproductivity. The papers analyze the ways the very bodies of Black women have been presented as evidence to justify slavery and colonization of people of African descent in the Atlantic World, to exploit enslaved women for their productive and reproductive “value,” and to rationalize the experimentation on Black women’s bodies for the good of mankind.

See more of: AHA Sessions