Wicked Flesh

Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World

By Jessica Marie Johnson

Book cover wiked flesh

From the publisher:

The story of freedom and all of its ambiguities begins with intimate acts steeped in power. It is shaped by the peculiar oppressions faced by African women and women of African descent. And it pivots on the self-conscious choices black women made to retain control over their bodies and selves, their loved ones and their futures. Slavery’s rise in the Americas was institutional, carnal, and reproductive. The intimacy of bondage whet the appetites of slaveowners, traders, and colonial officials with fantasies of domination that trickled into every social relationship — husband and wife, sovereign and subject, master and laborer. Intimacy — corporeal, carnal, quotidian — tied slaves to slaveowners, women of African descent and their children to European and African men. In Wicked Flesh, Jessica Marie Johnson, AB ’04, explores the nature of these complicated intimate and kinship ties and how they were used by black women to construct freedom in the Atlantic world.

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