Women, Gender, Sexuality Department
University of Virginia
Global History of Black Girlhood
Corinne T. Field and LaKisha Michelle Simmons edit a collection of writings that explores the many ways scholars, artists, and activists think and write about Black girls’ pasts. The contributors engage in interdisciplinary conversations that consider what it means to be a girl; the meaning of Blackness when seen from the perspectives of girls in different times and places; and the ways Black girls have imagined themselves as part of a global African diaspora.
Thought-provoking and original, The Global History of Black Girlhood opens up new possibilities for understanding Black girls in the past while offering useful tools for present-day Black girls eager to explore the histories of those who came before them.
Contributors: Janaé E. Bonsu, Ruth Nicole Brown, Tara Bynum, Casidy Campbell, Katherine Capshaw, Bev Palesa Ditsie, Sarah Duff, Cynthia Greenlee, Claudrena Harold, Anasa Hicks, Lindsey Jones, Phindile Kunene, Denise Oliver-Velez, Jennifer Palmer, Vanessa Plumly, Shani Roper, SA Smythe, Nastassja Swift, Dara Walker, Najya Williams, and Nazera Wright
“Grand Old Women and Modern Girls,” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 5 October 2018.
The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014).
In the fight for equality, early feminists often cited the infantilization of women and men of color as a method used to keep them out of power. Corinne T. Field argues that attaining adulthood–and the associated political rights, economic opportunities, and sexual power that come with it–became a common goal for both white and African American feminists between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The idea that black men and all women were more like children than adult white men proved difficult to overcome, however, and continued to serve as a foundation for racial and sexual inequality for generations.
In detailing the connections between the struggle for equality and concepts of adulthood, Field provides an essential historical context for understanding the dilemmas black and white women still face in America today, from “glass ceilings” and debates over welfare dependency to a culture obsessed with youth and beauty. Drawn from a fascinating past, this book tells the history of how maturity, gender, and race collided, and how those affected came together to fight against injustice.
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