Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women

Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women

by Stephanie Li

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Overview

Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women by Stephanie Li

Examines why African American women would choose conditions of bondage over individual freedom.

Why would someone choose bondage over individual freedom? What type of freedom can be found in choosing conditions of enslavement? In Something Akin to Freedom, winner of the 2008 SUNY Press Dissertation/First Book Prize in African American Studies, Stephanie Li explores literary texts where African American women decide to remain in or enter into conditions of bondage, sacrificing individual autonomy to achieve other goals. In fresh readings of stories by Harriet Jacobs, Hannah Crafts, Gayl Jones, Louisa Picquet, and Toni Morrison, Li argues that amid shifting positions of power and through acts of creative agency, the women in these narratives make seemingly anti-intuitive choices that are simultaneously limiting and liberating. She explores how the appeal of the freedom of the North is constrained by the potential for isolation and destabilization for women rooted in strong social networks in the South. By introducing reproduction, mother-child relationships, and community into discourses concerning resistance, Li expands our understanding of individual liberation to include the courage to express personal desire and the freedom to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438429717
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 03/04/2010
Pages: 172
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Stephanie Li is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Rochester.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Intra-independence: Reconceptualizing Freedom and Resistance to Bondage 15

Chapter 2 Choosing the Bondage of Domesticity and White Womanhood in The Bondwoman's Narrative 41

Chapter 3 Voluntary Enslavement and Discursive Violence: Plaçage and Louisa Picquet 65

Chapter 4 The Bondage of Memory in Gayl Jones's Corregidora 87

Coda From Bondage to War: The Lives of Contemporary Black Women in the Novels of Toni Morrison 117

Notes 133

Works Cited 145

Index 159

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