In the social and cultural histories of women and feminism, Black women have long been overlooked or ignored. The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories is an impressive and comprehensive reference work for contemporary scholarship on the cultural histories of Black women across the diaspora spanning different eras from ancient times into the twenty-first century. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion is divided into five parts:
- A fragmented past, an inclusive future
- Contested histories, subversive memories
- Gendered lives, racial frameworks
- Cultural shifts, social change
- Black identities, feminist formations
Within these sections, a diverse range of women, places, and issues are explored, including ancient African queens, Black women in early modern European art and culture, enslaved Muslim women in the antebellum United States, Sally Hemings, Phillis Wheatley, Black women writers in early twentieth-century Paris, Black women, civil rights, South African apartheid, and sexual violence and resistance in the United States in recent history.
The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories is essential reading for students and researchers in Gender Studies, History, Africana Studies, and Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Janell Hobson
PART I – A FRAGMENTED PAST, AN INCLUSIVE FUTURE
1. Women are from Africa and Men are from Europe
2. Priestess, Queen, Goddess: The Divine Feminine in the Kingdom of Kush
3. Queen Balghis, "Queen of Sheba"
4. Black Women in Early Modern European Art and Culture
Paul H.D. Kaplan
5. Black Women in Early Modern Spanish Literature
Nicholas R. Jones
6. The Legend of Lucy Negro
Joyce Green MacDonald
7. (Anti-)colonial Assemblages: The History and Reformulations of Njinga Mbande
Daniel F. Silva
PART II – CONTESTED HISTORIES, SUBVERSIVE MEMORIES
8. Preserving the Memories of Precolonial Nigeria: Cultural Narratives of Precolonial Heroines
9. Nana Asma’u: The Model for Literate Women Muslims
10. Finding "Fatima" among Enslaved Muslim Women in the Antebellum United States
Denise A. Spellberg
11. Phillis Wheatley and New England Slavery
12. Sally Hemings: Writing the Life of an Enslaved Woman
13. The Persistence of Félicité Kina in the World of the Haitian Revolution: Kinship, Gender, and Everyday Resistance
Nathan H. Dize
14. The Then and Now of Subjugation and Empowerment: Marie Benoist’s Portrait d’une Negresse (1800)
PART III – GENDERED LIVES, RACIAL FRAMEWORKS
15. A History of Black Women in Nineteenth-Century France
16. Living Free: Self-Emancipated Women and Queer Formations of Freedom
Vanessa M. Holden
17. "Blood, Fire, and Freedom": Enslaved Women and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Cuba
18. Black Women and Africana Abolitionism
Nneka D. Dennie
19. Ethiop’s Woke Women: The Nineteenth Century Re-imagines Africa
20. Singing Power/Sounding Identity: The Black Woman’s Voice from Hidden Hush Arbors to the Popular
21. Jamettes, Mas, and Bacchanal: A Culture of Resistance in Trinidad and Tobago
Allison O. Ramsay
PART IV – CULTURAL SHIFTS, SOCIAL CHANGE
22. Wives and Warriors: The Royal Women of Dahomey as Representatives of the Kingdom
23. Reframing Yaa Asantewaa through the Shifting Paradigms of African Historiography
24. The Aba Women’s War of 1929 in Eastern Nigeria as Anti-Colonial Protest
Egodi Uchendu and Uche Okonkwo
25. Black Women Writers in Early Twentieth-Century Paris
Claire Oberon Garcia
26. The Transnational Black Feminist Politics of Claudia Jones
27. Confronting Apartheid: Black Women’s Internationalism in South Africa and the United States
28. Black Feminisms, Queer Feminisms, Trans Feminisms: Meditating on Pauli Murray, Shirley Chisholm, and Marsha P. Johnson against the Erasure of History
Jenn M. Jackson
PART V – BLACK IDENTITIES, FEMINIST FUTURES
29. Traces of Race, Roots of Gender: A Genetic History
30. Is Twerking African?: Dancing and Diaspora as Embodied Knowledge on YouTube
Kyra D. Gaunt
31. Sites of Resistance: Black Women and Beauty in Brazilian Communities of São Paulo and Bahia
Valquíria Pereira Tenório and Flávia Alessandra de Souza
32. Hail to the Chefs: Black Women’s Pedagogy, Sacred Kitchenspaces, and Afro-Diasporic Religions
33. Black Women’s Feminist Literary Renaissance of the Late Twentieth Century
Carmen R. Gillespie
34. Black Women, Sexual Violence, and Resistance in the United States
Janell Hobson and Donna E. Young
35. African Women’s Political Leadership: Global Lessons for Feminism
Janell Hobson is Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA.
"I am humbled by this breathtaking collection of essays from an extraordinary group of scholars. Spanning the diaspora and the millennia, this timely collection explores both familiar and new areas of black feminist historical analysis and cultural interrogation, highlighting new writings on black women’s intellectual traditions and challenging the silences in the archives that have long denied women of color - both free and enslaved - their roles in making history. From the queens of Ancient Egypt to modern day activists and leaders, there is much here for everyone. This is an essential addition to bookshelves and classrooms everywhere!"
Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero.
"The collection we need in this global moment, The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories reveals how black women around the world are central to our current conceptualizations of knowledge, politics, art, literature, feminisms, and survival. This set of essays is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the struggles we all face and how, with black women as our guides, we can push for a better and vibrant future."
Ashley D. Farmer, University of Texas-Austin, USA, author of Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era.
"The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories is unprecedented in its scope and ambition. In 35 chapters, scholars from Africa, the Americas, and Europe, at different stages of their careers, document the transformative creativity of Black women across the African diaspora. Collectively these chapters demonstrate the complexity, strength, heterogeneity and communal nature of Black women’s cultural history. They also inform our understanding of race and gender today, by questioning white canonical constructions of culture and creativity and finding new ways to narrate histories of those long silenced by archives and professional historians. This bold new collection will shape the field of Black women’s cultural history for some time to come."
Kate Dossett, University of Leeds, UK, author of Radical Black Theatre in the New Deal.