Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2020
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Women on the 'Fringes': Reimagining Marronage through the Gendered Landscapes of Colonial Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone

By centering maroon women in colonial Jamaica, my dissertation argues that the gendered parameters of marronage offer new ways of conceptualizing resistance and community formation under slavery. Colonial officials consciously concealed maroon women's presence and experiences in acts of resistance, which also produced our contemporary understanding of marronage as a masculine phenomenon. I argue that this rendering obscures maroon women's reproductive and social work that were critical to both the survival of maroon communities and maroon rebellions. To further emphasize the long-term pivotal work performed by maroon women, I follow a subset of maroons to Nova Scotia and then Sierra Leone, where they relocated following their failed military effort against the colonial Jamaican state in 1795. My dissertation brings together scholarship on slave resistance, gender and slavery, modernity, and social histories of the early Atlantic world to not just "insert" or "discover" maroon women, but to illuminate the ways in which their oppositional politics lend clarity to conceptions of freedom. I contend throughout that black women's wombs were the mechanism through which racial slavery was produced, thus emphasizing maroon's women critical efforts in reshaping the black experience.