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Fertility control, shared nurturing, and dual exploitation: the lives of enslaved mothers in the antebellum United States

West, E. and Shearer, E. (2018) Fertility control, shared nurturing, and dual exploitation: the lives of enslaved mothers in the antebellum United States. Women's History Review, 27 (6). pp. 1006-1020. ISSN 1747-583X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2017.1336849

Abstract/Summary

Slaveholders believed women could both labour and care for their children simultaneously, and they routinely exploited enslaved mothers as both workers and as reproducers. Using Stephanie Camp’s conceptualization of enslaved women’s bodies as sites of resistance, this article argues that despite slavery’s arduousness motherhood provided a place of refuge for enslaved women to enjoy their children and the camaraderie of their peers. However, women sometimes lamented bringing enslaved children into the world and strove not to do so, especially when pregnancy resulted from sexual assault. Slavery’s unique burdens meant many women participated in shared and more communal forms of mothering than their white counterparts.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:66790
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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