Rogers on Researching the Zealy Dagguerreotypes of Slaves (2012)

In 2012, at Mirror of Race, Molly Rogers reflected on the Jacques Zealy daguerreotypes of South Carolina slaves (now held by Harvard University).

In the sum­mer of 1976, employ­ees of Har­vard University’s Peabody Museum of Archae­ol­ogy and Eth­nol­ogy dis­cov­ered fif­teen daguerreo­types in the museum attic. The pho­tographs were made in 1850 and they depict five African men and two African Amer­i­can women, all of whom were slaves in or near Colum­bia, South Car­olina. The names of the peo­ple are known—the men are Jack, Jem, Fassena and Alfred, and the women Drana and Delia—as are a few details on the cir­cum­stances of their lives. The daguerreo­types are con­sid­ered to be the ear­li­est known pho­tographs of iden­ti­fi­able Amer­i­can slaves….

…As I exam­ined the pho­tographs, scru­ti­niz­ing Delia’s body with the aid of a mag­ni­fy­ing glass—seeking in her image evi­dence of mal­treat­ment, of the cir­cum­stances under which the image was made, and of her indi­vid­ual character—an unpleas­ant feel­ing came over me. Louis Agas­siz had com­mis­sioned Delia’s pho­tographs after phys­i­cally exam­in­ing her. The images were intended to serve as aides-memoire to this osten­si­bly sci­en­tific exam­i­na­tion and also as evi­dence of his find­ings, which he could show to other peo­ple. The pho­tographs were there­fore dou­bly linked to Delia’s vio­la­tion: they were both the cul­mi­na­tion of an inva­sive exam­i­na­tion and a sec­ond instance of this objec­ti­fy­ing scrutiny. And there I was, exam­in­ing Delia much as the sci­en­tist had done: she was exposed against her will and in her body I sought infor­ma­tion, facts, evi­dence. That the kind of the evi­dence I hoped to find dif­fered from that of the Swiss nat­u­ral­ist offered lit­tle con­so­la­tion. Ulti­mately, there was no avoid­ing the fact that I was regard­ing Delia as an object and doing so for my own gain…

Read the rest: Molly Rogers, “Fair Women Are Transformed into Negresses,” mirrorofrace.org 2012 January 18. http://mirrorofrace.org/fair-women/

Brunias? Buttons ft. Caribbean Free and Slave Life @ Cooper-Hewitt

Originally posted on Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog:

Collected in a 2013 post by Sarah D. Coffin, these buttons were posted on the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt blog some time ago. But material cultures of slavery never get old.

Some of her conclusions have been challenged in the comments (the author appears to confuse 18th century Dominica with Saint-Domingue), but the images appear to be renderings in the style of Bruinas or Brunias originals of figures devariascolores (black, gradations of mixed-race, and white) in 18th century dress.

The figure in the blue dress on this button, for example…

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My OAH Tribute: Stephanie M. H. Camp & Deborah Gray White

Jessica Marie Johnson:

On April 11, 2014, #ADPhD Founder Jessica Marie Johnson paid tribute to the late Stephanie M. H. Camp….

Originally posted on Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog:

Stephanie Camp1

Stephanie M. H. Camp

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Below is the full-text of the talk I gave at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting last week. The panel was titled “Expanding the Boundaries: Power and Voice in African American Women’s and Gender History.”A separate reflection on the panel itself is incoming.

My original remarks explored power and voice in histories of slavery and Afro-Atlantic women.

It quickly became a tribute to Deborah Gray White and the recently passed Stephanie M. H. Camp.

I edited the text below for the blog-as-media and easier reading. I used formatting to replicate speech patterns, added images and links where appropriate, and included sections I skipped last Friday for the sake of time. Overall, however, I stayed true to the text as shared that day.

You are welcome to reblog, cite, circulate at will. All I ask is you respect the terms of the

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AUDIO: Chivallon and Howard on Slavery & Memory in Martinique

At the 2013 workshop Caribbean Urban Aesthetics at The Open University, Christine Chivallon (with David Howard) discussed cultural heritage practices in Martinique:

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BOOK: Cowling on Women, Gender, Emancipation in Cuba & Brazil

CowlingConceivingFreedom

Cowling, Camillia. Conceiving Freedom: Women of Color, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

via UNC Press:

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BOOK: Wilder on Slavery at U.S. Universities

Wilder Ebony Ivory

Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013.

From Bloomsbury Press:

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EDITED: Hull, Scott & Smith’s Some of Us Are Brave (1982)

HullButSomeofUsAreBrave

African Diaspora, Ph.D. is revisiting scholarship that has shaped the study of people of African descent across time and place. 

In 1982, Hull, Scott, and Smith published a compilation of scholarship on the history, condition, and politics of black women in the United States. The works collected in Some of Us Are Brave spoke back to academic and policy research done in the name of black women, and challenged their absence from contemporary black studies and women’s studies curriculum. A groundbreaking interdisciplinary and activist venture, Some of Us Are Brave shaped the way women of African descent in the United States would be studied, organize, and theorize for decades to come.

Gloria T. Hull, Patricia B. Scott, and Barbara Smith, eds. All the Women Are White, and All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies. New York: Feminist Press, 1982.

via the Feminist Press:

Bibliographies and a collection of syllabi provide readers with essential classroom materials and a map for further research. Winner of the Outstanding Women of Color Award and the Women Educator’s Curriculum Material Award.

“A clear statement about Black women. Congratulations to the editors for compiling such a fine interdisciplinary volume.”

—Geraldine K. Brookins, Ph.D., Jackson State University

“Exciting! Affirmations and the beginning of a new era, where the ‘women’ in women’s studies will no longer mean ‘white.’”

—Audre Lorde

”This is ‘necessary bread’ for women of all colors. The essays contain not only fact and durable resources, but some of the best writing I’ve seen around.”

—Adrienne Rich

TEACHING: Baucom and DuBois Course Site for “The Black Atlantic”

“Festival of Our Lady of the Rosary, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ca. 1770s,” from “The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas” [Click]

Duke University students are writing the “Black Atlantic” online courtesy of a course taught by Ian Baucom and Laurent DuBois.

From the syllabus:

“This seminar, open to advanced undergraduate students and graduate students in all disciplines, explores the history and literature of what has come to be known as “The Black Atlantic.” Our goal will be to think through the histories of slavery and emancipation in this Atlantic world and the way they have shaped our politics and culture. Our reading will range widely, including works of history and theory as well as poetry and novels. But we will also explore how visual art, music, and various types of performance condense, transmit, and examine this history. Students in the class will be invited to participate in the “Digital Black Atlantic Project,” a collaboration between Duke, Columbia, and Harvard, which will be exploring innovative ways to use Digital Media to showcase and present scholarship, literature, and artistic production around the theme of the Black Atlantic.”

Students blog reflections over the course of the semester. Posts to date include:

Alisha Hines – Jay Z’s Oceans: Cultural Production, Historical Imaginaries, and Collective Identity

Sasha Panaram – “Ship Ahoy”: The Sounds of Slavery

David Romine – Memorials, Memory, and History in the Black Atlantic

Read more on the course, explore the site, and find the syllabus here: About « The Black Atlantic.

CONF: Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations

via the website:

“Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Symposium on the Atlantic World” seeks to explore the complicated relationship of race, citizenship, and national identity during the tumultuous long nineteenth century. By examining this connection in particular contexts within a broad Atlantic perspective, this symposium will contribute to a better understand of if, how, and why enslaved and free blacks throughout the Americas came to understand themselves as citizens of a particular nation (or possibly multiple nations) during the era of emancipation. Along with several panels focusing on varying aspects of this topic, the symposium will also feature a roundtable on the Atlantic World as a field, analytical concept, and pedagogical tool. Race and Nation is set to take place in Houston, Texas, on Rice University’s campus from February 21-22, 2014. The symposium is made possible thanks to generous funding from Rice University’s School of Humanities, the Department of History, the Humanities Research Center, the Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture, and the Graduate Student Association.

The conference hashtag is #raceandnation.

For more and full conference schedule: Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations | A Symposium on the Atlantic World #RaceAndNation

DIGITAL/RESOURCES: Readex Highlights Five African-American History Collections

via Readex:

In 1925 Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created Negro History Week. A half century later, during the U.S. bicentennial, this formal period for recognizing African American contributions to our national history was expanded to a month. At that time President Gerald Ford asked Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” During this 2014 celebration of African American History month, Readex is pleased to highlight these five new and recent resources:

The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society

Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998

Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society

Read full descriptions here: Celebrating African American History Month: Five Acclaimed Research and Teaching Collections for African American Studies | Readex