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.
|Publisher:||State University of New York Press|
|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
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
Works Cited 145