The alternative tradition of womanhood in nineteenth-century African-American women's writings
This thesis examines the ways in which three African-American women writers challenge the racist and sexist implications of the nineteenth-century "cult of true womanhood" and create an alternative path of womanhood accessible to women of color. The alternate tradition they generate allows these three women writers to break the silences and challenge the roles imposed upon them by dominant cultural practices. The three authors and texts under examination include Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859); Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861); and Frances E. W. Harper's Iola Leroy; Or, Shadows Uplifted (1892). These texts challenge the ways that the cult of true womanhood operates as an ideal which deny black women access. At the same time, I consider how these writers locate conflicts within the ideal of true womanhood and generate a tradition of writing closely aligned with both the white and black feminist movements.
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Logan, Lisa M.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences;Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins -- 1825-1911 -- Iola Leroy;Jacobs, Harriet A. -- (Harriet Ann) -- 1813-1897 -- Incidents in the life of a slave girl;Wilson, Harriet E. -- 1825-1900 -- Our nig
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Cato, Farrah M., "The alternative tradition of womanhood in nineteenth-century African-American women's writings" (1999). HIM 1990-2015. 136.