The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories

Edited By

Janell Hobson

ISBN 9780367707552
Published September 26, 2022 by Routledge
408 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $56.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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


1. Women are from Africa and Men are from Europe

Monica Hanna

2. Priestess, Queen, Goddess: The Divine Feminine in the Kingdom of Kush

Solange Ashby

3. Queen Balghis, "Queen of Sheba"

Carolyn Fluehr-Laban

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


8. Preserving the Memories of Precolonial Nigeria: Cultural Narratives of Precolonial Heroines

Aje-Ori Agbese

9. Nana Asma’u: The Model for Literate Women Muslims

Beverly Mack

10. Finding "Fatima" among Enslaved Muslim Women in the Antebellum United States

Denise A. Spellberg

11. Phillis Wheatley and New England Slavery

Jennifer Thorn

12. Sally Hemings: Writing the Life of an Enslaved Woman

Annette Gordon-Reed

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)

James Smalls


15. A History of Black Women in Nineteenth-Century France

Robin Mitchell

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

Michelle Reid-Vazquez

18. Black Women and Africana Abolitionism

Nneka D. Dennie

19. Ethiop’s Woke Women: The Nineteenth Century Re-imagines Africa

Barbara McCaskill

20. Singing Power/Sounding Identity: The Black Woman’s Voice from Hidden Hush Arbors to the Popular

Maya Cunningham

21. Jamettes, Mas, and Bacchanal: A Culture of Resistance in Trinidad and Tobago

Allison O. Ramsay


22. Wives and Warriors: The Royal Women of Dahomey as Representatives of the Kingdom

Lynne Larsen

23. Reframing Yaa Asantewaa through the Shifting Paradigms of African Historiography

Naabarko Sackeyfio-Lenoch

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

Carole Boyce-Davies

27. Confronting Apartheid: Black Women’s Internationalism in South Africa and the United States

Nicholas Grant

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


29. Traces of Race, Roots of Gender: A Genetic History

Amade M’charek

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

Elizabeth Pérez

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

Gretchen Bauer

View More



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.