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Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations (Gender and American Culture)

Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations (Gender and American Culture) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Exploring the charged topic of black health under slavery, Sharla Fett reveals how herbalism, conjuring, midwifery, and other African American healing practices became arts of resistance in the antebellum South.

Fett shows how enslaved men and women drew on African precedents to develop a view of health and healing that was distinctly at odds with slaveholders' property concerns. While white slaveowners narrowly defined slave health in terms of "soundness" for labor, slaves embraced a relational view of health that was intimately tied to religion and community. African American healing practices thus not only restored the body but also provided a formidable weapon against white objectification of black health.

Enslaved women played a particularly important role in plantation health culture: they made medicines, cared for the sick, and served as midwives in both black and white households. Their labor as health workers not only proved essential to plantation production but also gave them a basis of authority within enslaved communities. Not surprisingly, conflicts frequently arose between slave doctoring women and the whites who attempted to supervise their work, as did conflicts related to feigned illness, poisoning threats, and African-based religious practices. By examining the deeply contentious dynamics of plantation healing, Fett sheds new light on the broader power relations of antebellum American slavery.

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I. Visions of Health

Chapter 1. Soundness

Chapter 2. Spirit and Power

Chapter 3. Sacred Plants

Chapter 4. Conjuring Community

Part II. Arenas of Conflict

Chapter 5. Doctoring Women

Chapter 6. Danger and Distrust

Chapter 7. Fooling the Master

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807827093
Author:
Fett, Sharla
Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
Author:
Fett, Sharla M.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Health Care Delivery
Subject:
History
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
Healing
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Subject:
African American Studies
Subject:
Southern States Social conditions.
Subject:
Slaves -- Southern States -- Social conditions.
Subject:
African American Studies-Black Heritage
Subject:
African American Studies-General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Gender and American Culture (Hardcover)
Publication Date:
20020531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
13, 13 illus., 1 map
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.38 in

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery

Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations (Gender and American Culture)
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Product details 304 pages University of North Carolina Press - English 9780807827093 Reviews:
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