Title

The (Re)-Production of Resistance: Dessa Rose, Kindred, and Black Women's Reproductive Rights

Lead Author Major

English & Philosophy

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Cynthia Dobbs

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

Analyzing Black women's position through the focal point of the neo slave narrative is especially poignant because it allows for a simultaneous reading of the oppression of the slave past and the contemporary impediments to Black women's autonomy and self-definitions. In this way, the neo slave narrative is a living text which is capable of revealing the persisting oppression of Black women. I have selected the topic of reproductive rights to further focalize the issue of liberation for enslaved Black women in neo slave narratives due to the centrality of reproductive autonomy to women's liberation. Women's freedom from oppression is closely wedded to reproductive freedom. For Black women, reproductive rights are especially poignant because of the particular control others have had of Black women's bodies. This control has been justified through the confluence of white supremacy and patriarchy. The myth of Black women's hypersexuality in a society that esteems women's sexual purity has been used to usurp Black women's control over their own bodies. I have selected Dessa Rose and Kindred as my primary neo slave narrative literary texts because they strongly implicate the role of reproductive rights in Black women's autonomy. Dessa Rose in particular indicates the revolutionary potential of an enslaved Black woman choosing motherhood rather than allowing herself to be forced or incidentally led into it due to the slave system. Kindred bears witness to the impact sexual abuse and reproductive control has on individually enslaved Black women, as well as the ramifications for their genealogical line.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

26-4-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

26-4-2014 4:40 PM

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Apr 26th, 1:00 PM Apr 26th, 4:40 PM

The (Re)-Production of Resistance: Dessa Rose, Kindred, and Black Women's Reproductive Rights

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Analyzing Black women's position through the focal point of the neo slave narrative is especially poignant because it allows for a simultaneous reading of the oppression of the slave past and the contemporary impediments to Black women's autonomy and self-definitions. In this way, the neo slave narrative is a living text which is capable of revealing the persisting oppression of Black women. I have selected the topic of reproductive rights to further focalize the issue of liberation for enslaved Black women in neo slave narratives due to the centrality of reproductive autonomy to women's liberation. Women's freedom from oppression is closely wedded to reproductive freedom. For Black women, reproductive rights are especially poignant because of the particular control others have had of Black women's bodies. This control has been justified through the confluence of white supremacy and patriarchy. The myth of Black women's hypersexuality in a society that esteems women's sexual purity has been used to usurp Black women's control over their own bodies. I have selected Dessa Rose and Kindred as my primary neo slave narrative literary texts because they strongly implicate the role of reproductive rights in Black women's autonomy. Dessa Rose in particular indicates the revolutionary potential of an enslaved Black woman choosing motherhood rather than allowing herself to be forced or incidentally led into it due to the slave system. Kindred bears witness to the impact sexual abuse and reproductive control has on individually enslaved Black women, as well as the ramifications for their genealogical line.