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Black Magic Woman: Gender, Ritual, and Power in Africa and the African

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Abstract:

Despite the significant body of historical literature being produced on Africana women and slavery in the last twenty years, the critical participation of women in resistance to slavery is still an underexplored area. However, more attention paid to other, less militaristic forms of resistance, such as those based on African cultural knowledge and metaphysical practice, may reveal an even greater level of women’s participation than most historians would have imagined. By analyzing the documentation related to resistance through an African cosmological framework, Black women’s participation in resistance may become more easily perceived in the historical documentation.
As the historical record of women in resistance is likely sparse, research for this venture will move beyond standard historical methodology, hence, underscoring this project’s innovative demands. It will be necessary to implement an interdisciplinary method, utilizing source materials from the academic disciplines of archaeology, law, religious studies, and folklore to fashion this historical narrative.
One of the primary goals of this investigation is to use the African cosmological framework to “gender” our understanding of resistance. This presentation will examine how women have exercised power in communities throughout Africa and the African Diaspora based on their roles as ritual experts in the spiritual sciences. An understanding of Black women’s power and authority over the domains perceived as spiritual or metaphysical can assist in our efforts to unpack and reformulate women’s leadership in creating social cohesion, facilitating cultural transformation and resisting oppression in slave societies of the Americas. When put in an African cultural and/or cosmological context, women are also revealed as key players in acts of collective and individual resistance to enslavement, from poisoning, to providing spiritual protection for warriors, to full participation in violent rebellion. Perhaps this research will reveal a form of gender “complementarity” in the resistance strategies employed by the enslaved; the evidence may allude to previously unnoticed instances in which men and women collaborated or shared leadership in organized insurrection.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436244_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hanks, Iyelli. "Black Magic Woman: Gender, Ritual, and Power in Africa and the African" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436244_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hanks, I. I. "Black Magic Woman: Gender, Ritual, and Power in Africa and the African" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p436244_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: Despite the significant body of historical literature being produced on Africana women and slavery in the last twenty years, the critical participation of women in resistance to slavery is still an underexplored area. However, more attention paid to other, less militaristic forms of resistance, such as those based on African cultural knowledge and metaphysical practice, may reveal an even greater level of women’s participation than most historians would have imagined. By analyzing the documentation related to resistance through an African cosmological framework, Black women’s participation in resistance may become more easily perceived in the historical documentation.
As the historical record of women in resistance is likely sparse, research for this venture will move beyond standard historical methodology, hence, underscoring this project’s innovative demands. It will be necessary to implement an interdisciplinary method, utilizing source materials from the academic disciplines of archaeology, law, religious studies, and folklore to fashion this historical narrative.
One of the primary goals of this investigation is to use the African cosmological framework to “gender” our understanding of resistance. This presentation will examine how women have exercised power in communities throughout Africa and the African Diaspora based on their roles as ritual experts in the spiritual sciences. An understanding of Black women’s power and authority over the domains perceived as spiritual or metaphysical can assist in our efforts to unpack and reformulate women’s leadership in creating social cohesion, facilitating cultural transformation and resisting oppression in slave societies of the Americas. When put in an African cultural and/or cosmological context, women are also revealed as key players in acts of collective and individual resistance to enslavement, from poisoning, to providing spiritual protection for warriors, to full participation in violent rebellion. Perhaps this research will reveal a form of gender “complementarity” in the resistance strategies employed by the enslaved; the evidence may allude to previously unnoticed instances in which men and women collaborated or shared leadership in organized insurrection.


Similar Titles:
Black Magic Woman: Gender, Ritual, and Power in Africa and the African Diaspora

Ain’t I a Black Revolutionary Woman? An Africana Womanist Analysis of Race and Gender during the Black Power Movement

Revolutionary is Being a Black Woman: An Africana Womanist Analysis of Race and Gender during the Black Power Movement


 
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