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Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Early American Studies)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  171 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
When black women were brought from Africa to the New World as slave laborers, their value was determined by their ability to work as well as their potential to bear children, who by law would become the enslaved property of the mother's master. In Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery, Jennifer L. Morgan examines for the first time how African women' ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published February 25th 2004 by University of Pennsylvania Press
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Sep 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historians, stodgy old white men who don't think racism/sexism are problems
Shelves: schooly, feministy, essays
I like the historiographic, feminist, multivalenced-and-constructed-identities elements of the text. But it was so frequently bogged down with statistics and dry charts that I had a tendency to skim. (I guess they were convincing bits of evidence for Morgan's points on the exploitation of women for hegemonic, race-defining, labor-providing ends...but only if you actually read them.)
Overall, it's an interesting and convincing read. I'm not keen on the amount of technical evidence, especially sinc
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent example of how racism and sexism combine against Black women enslaved and used in the US South economy.
Dec 12, 2016 marked it as to-read
* Understanding Oppression: African American Rights (Then and Now)
Andee Nero
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a really short book because, as Morgan points out, a lot of what she says should be fairly obvious. Sometimes this comes off as redundancy. As she explains, if anything, the biggest point of her book is that "African women were there." She definitely accomplished this goal. I've read several books that claim to be specifically about the experience of African women, or that hope to emphasize their experience, but they fail whereas Morgan actually pulls this off.
Danielle Butler
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
While Morgan's thesis is thought provoking, she fails to definitively connect reproduction as an integral part of life for the African slave woman. She stretches the limited source material and statistical data to represent the argument she is presenting. Overall a good read, but not fantastic scholarship.
Allysa Khan
A good historiographic depiction of the middle passage and Slavery in Imperial Britain. A refreshing argument on women's doubled labour power; one of reproductive labour and the other physical enslaved labour. A good introductory text for those interested in learning more about enslaved women's role in imperial expansionist efforts.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this as a textbook for one of my history classes. It presented a different perspective I had never considered and I was always eager to read sections from it.
Ben Linzy
Mar 17, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting feminist reading of slavery. Other than the travelogue argument in the first chapter there is much here.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Really liked her take on resistance within communities of laboring women of color. Also on temporality and the idea that the master's future is vested in her womb.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A horrifying but relevant survey of the ways in which the West normalized slavery and colonization, through their burgeoning ideas of gender and race.
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