Sexuality and Slavery

On November 11th and 12th, the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin will host “Sexuality and Slavery: Exposing the History of Enslaved People,” a conference convened by Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie Harris. Leading scholars of slavery in the Americas will explore consensual sexual intimacy and expression within slave communities, as well as sexual relationships across lines of race, status and power. The use of sexuality as a tool of control, exploitation and repression, but also as an expression of autonomy, resistance and defiance will be addressed. We will discuss the politics of constructing such histories; the archival and methodological challenges to this research; and the regional differences and similarities across the Americas through historical, legal, and feminist frameworks. As we define sexuality broadly–inclusive of consensual intimacy, coercive exploitation, and the range of positions in between–we will seek to complicate our understanding of the intimacy of power. This conference is free and open to the public but all attendees must register in advance.