In the social and cultural histories of women and feminism, Black women have long been overlooked or ignored. The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories is an impressive and comprehensive reference work for contemporary scholarship on the cultural histories of Black women across the diaspora spanning different eras from ancient times into the twenty-first century. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion is divided into five parts:

  • A fragmented past, an inclusive future
  • Contested histories, subversive memories
  • Gendered lives, racial frameworks
  • Cultural shifts, social change
  • Black identities, feminist formations

Within these sections, a diverse range of women, places, and issues are explored, including ancient African queens, Black women in early modern European art and culture, enslaved Muslim women in the antebellum United States, Sally Hemings, Phillis Wheatley, Black women writers in early twentieth-century Paris, Black women, civil rights, South African apartheid, and sexual violence and resistance in the United States in recent history.

The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories is essential reading for students and researchers in Gender Studies, History, Africana Studies, and Cultural Studies.

chapter |10 pages

The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories

An Introduction by Janell Hobson

part I|76 pages

A fragmented past, an inclusive future

chapter 2|12 pages

Priestess, queen, goddess

The divine feminine in the kingdom of Kush

chapter 6|9 pages

The legend of Lucy Negro

chapter 7|12 pages

(Anti-)colonial assemblages

The history and reformulations of Njinga Mbande

part II|70 pages

Contested histories, subversive memories

chapter 8|11 pages

Preserving the memories of precolonial Nigeria

Cultural narratives of precolonial heroines

chapter 9|9 pages

Nana Asma’u

A model for literate women Muslims

chapter 12|8 pages

Sally Hemings

Writing the life of an enslaved woman

chapter 13|9 pages

The persistence of Félicité Kina in the world of the Haitian Revolution

Kinship, gender, and everyday resistance

chapter 14|11 pages

The then and now of subjugation and empowerment

Marie Benoist’s Portrait d’une négresse (1800)

part III|66 pages

Gendered lives, racial frameworks

chapter 16|9 pages

Living free

Self-emancipated women and queer formations of freedom

chapter 17|7 pages

“Blood, fire, and freedom”

Enslaved women and rebellion in nineteenth-century Cuba

chapter 19|10 pages

Ethiopia’s woke women

The nineteenth century re-imagines Africa

chapter 20|9 pages

Singing power/sounding identity

The Black woman’s voice from hidden Hush Arbors to the popular

chapter 21|10 pages

Jamettes, mas, and bacchanal

A culture of resistance in Trinidad and Tobago

part IV|72 pages

Cultural shifts, social change

chapter 22|11 pages

Wives and warriors

The royal women of Dahomey as representatives of the kingdom

chapter 27|10 pages

Confronting apartheid

Black women’s internationalism in South Africa and the United States

chapter 28|11 pages

Black feminisms, queer feminisms, trans feminisms

Meditating on Pauli Murray, Shirley Chisholm, and Marsha P. Johnson against the erasure of history

part V|78 pages

Black identities, feminist formations

chapter 29|13 pages

Traces of race, roots of gender

A genetic history

chapter 30|11 pages

Is twerking African?

Dancing and diaspora as embodied knowledge on YouTube

chapter 31|12 pages

Sites of resistance

Black women and beauty in Black Brazilian communities of São Paulo and Bahia

chapter 32|9 pages

Hail to the chefs

Black women’s pedagogy, sacred kitchenspaces, and Afro-Diasporic religions

chapter 35|10 pages

African women’s political leadership

Global lessons for feminism