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4. Women and Slaveholder Violence
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the physical and sexual abuse suffered by enslaved women, focusing in particular on: (i) the ‘culture of dissemblance’ that resulted in sexual abuse being under-reported by enslaved women; (ii) the ‘Jezebel’ stereotype employed by slaveholding men to justify their sexual abuse; (iii) the treatment of children that were borne as a result of sexual abuse; (iv) sexual abuse within the enslaved community; and (v) the abuse of women for purposes of medical experimentation, as in the case of J. Marion Sims.
In this course, Professor Emily West (University of Reading) explores the experience of enslaved women in the United States during the Antebellum Period (1815-61). In the first module, we provide a broad introduction to the history of slavery in the United States, as well as thinking about the key sources that historians can use to find out about the institution of slavery, and some of the methodological problems associated with these sources. In the second module, we think about the different kinds of work undertaken by enslaved women, before turning in the third module to enslaved women’s wider roles within their families and communities and their resistance to oppression. In the fourth module, we think about the physical and sexual abuse suffered before enslaved women, before moving on in the fifth module to explore the relationship between enslaved women and slave-owning women. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about how life for enslaved women changed during and after the American Civil War.
Emily West is Professor of History at the University of Reading. Her research interests centre on issues of race and gender in American history, especially in relation to slavery in the US South. Her recent publications include Enslaved Women in America: From Colonial Times to Emancipation (2014) and Family or Freedom: Free People of Color in the Antebellum South (2012).
Cite this Lecture
West, E. (2019, March 04). Enslaved Women in the United States, c.1815-61 - Women and Slaveholder Violence [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/enslaved-women-in-the-united-states-c-1815-61/women-and-slaveholder-violence
West, E. "Enslaved Women in the United States, c.1815-61 – Women and Slaveholder Violence." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Mar 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/enslaved-women-in-the-united-states-c-1815-61/women-and-slaveholder-violence