Closer To Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South

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Closer To Freedom Enslaved women and everyday resistance in the Plantation South (Gender and American Culture) 1st PAPERBACK Edition
By: Stephanie Camp

 

Recent scholarship on slavery has explored the lives of enslaved people beyond the watchful eye of their masters. Building on this work and the study of space, social relations, gender, and power in the Old South, Stephanie Camp examines the everyday containment and movement of enslaved men and, especially, enslaved women. In her investigation of the movement of bodies, objects, and information, Camp extends our recognition of slave resistance into new arenas and reveals an important and hidden culture of opposition.

Camp discusses the multiple dimensions to acts of resistance that might otherwise appear to be little more than fits of temper. She brings new depth to our understanding of the lives of enslaved women, whose bodies and homes were inevitably political arenas. Through Camp's insight, truancy becomes an act of pursuing personal privacy. Illegal parties ("frolics") become an expression of bodily freedom. And bondwomen who acquired printed abolitionist materials and posted them on the walls of their slave cabins (even if they could not read them) become the subtle agitators who inspire more overt acts.

The culture of opposition created by enslaved women's acts of everyday resistance helped foment and sustain the more visible resistance of men in their individual acts of running away and in the collective action of slave revolts. Ultimately, Camp argues, the Civil War years saw revolutionary change that had been in the making for decades.

 

Editorial Reviews

 

Review

"Deepens our understanding of resistance as both an individual and collective endeavor. [Camp] argues forcefully. . . . Intriguing and interesting."
-- "The Journal of Interdisciplinary History"

"This slim volume makes a substantial and often ingenious contribution to slavery studies and to women's and southern history..."
—l "American Historical Review"

"Camp's creative and elegant work reinforces the interconnectedness of North and South, slave and free, in the lives of enslaved people."
-- "Signs"

"Very readable yet analytically sophisticated. . . . Camp seamlessly integrates a wide array of sources . . . into an engaging book that does more than recount women's experiences as slaves in the plantation South. . . . An excellent study of bondwomen and a penetrating look at the rival geographies created by enslaved people."
-- "Journal of Southern History"

"Wonderfully evocative. . . . A provocative book full of astonishing, sometimes unforgettable moments."
-- "Virginia Magazine"

_This slim volume makes a substantial and often ingenious contribution to slavery studies and to women's and southern history..."
l "American Historical Review"

_This slim volume makes a substantial and often ingenious contribution to slavery studies and to women's and southern history..."
l "American Historical Review"

"Sensitive, bold, and imaginative, the first book to place black women at the center of everyday resistance to bondage.
(Douglas R. Egerton, Le Moyne College, author of "Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802")"

 

Review

Camp has written a provocative book full of astonishing, sometimes unforgettable moments. Moreover, she has raised important questions about the way slave women resisted their owners. Ultimately no one will be able to answer the questions that Camp asks without coming to grips with the world she describes.--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

From the Inside Flap

Focusing on female slaves' everyday forms of resistance--such as truancy, theft, and illegal parties--Camp argues that the Civil War years saw revolutionary change that had been in the making for decades, as slaves broke rules, spoke their minds, and ran away.

 

About the Author

Stephanie M. H. Camp is associate professor of history at the University of Washington, Seattle.
 

Product details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Carolina Press; 1st PAPERBACK edition (September 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807855340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807855348
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
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