“Much More Than Any One Phrase Can Name”: Rethinking the Contours of Respectability in the African Diaspora, 1910–60

AHA Session 25
Thursday, January 7, 2016: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Imperial Ballroom A (Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level)
Tiffany Gill, University of Delaware
Reena N. Goldthree, Dartmouth College

Session Abstract

This session accepts the challenge made by Historian Darlene Clark Hine during the 2014
AHA when she asked scholars to begin “…to seek out the voices, names, and ways of
women who do not so neatly fit into the politics of respectability paradigm. We might
find some surprises. It is time to move beyond the politics of respectability as black
women are so much more than any one phrase can name.” In response, each paper in this
session draws on diverse primary sources in search of the ways black women throughout
the African Diaspora expressed their own sense of respectability. These examinations
posit new directions for understanding how Diasporic women both articulated and
embodied more fluid definitions of respectability than those which have been more
widely touted.

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