Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings

Overview

Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in ...
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Overview

Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in the narratives of contemporary African American literature.

Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers examines the lives of real granny midwives and other healers--through oral narratives, ethnographic research and documentation--and considers them in tandem with their fictional counterparts in the work of Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker and others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415915076
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Sistah Conjurer: Text and Context 1
1 Western Science and Folk Medicine: White Men's Forceps and Black Women's Forces 23
2 Literary Recovery of the Granny: The Body, the Mind, the Material 51
3 God and the Grannies: Testifying Theory 79
4 Women Who Work Magic: Literary and Cultural Icons - Song of Solomon 101
5 Conjure Discourse in Conjuring Communities: Mama Day and Fieldwork in Paradise 129
Notes 171
Bibliography 184
Index 198
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