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Three generations of slave mothers in Suriname: The making of Stedman’s Joanna

Lecture by Natalie Zemon Davis
Professor Natalie Zemon Davis will present findings from her ongoing researching into the family history of Joanna, a mixed race slave woman who married and had a son with John Gabriel
Stedman, the author of The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796). Stedman’s account, with its firsthand depictions of slavery and other aspects of colonization, became an important tool in the early abolitionist cause and has remained enormously influential. Davis’ research investigates the grandmother and the mother of Stedman’s Joanna, and focuses on Joanna herself so as to identify a family tradition or ethos informing their behavior and choices. The talk will also illustrate the challenges in finding evidence for the reconstruction of the lives and attitudes of individual slaves in the 18th century.
Natalie Zemon Davis is a leading historian of early modern Europe, a pioneer in feminist studies, and one of the first women to assume a senior position in North American academic life. Her research activity and publications have been in the social and cultural history of sixteenth-century France and in early modern Europe, where she has been especially concerned to get at the lives and values of peasants, artisans, and women, and to analyze their relation to other social groups and to power, property, and authority. Her current work is taking her outside Europe’s bounds to colonial Quebec and Suriname. She has written six books, co-authored one and co-edited two. She has also published over seventy articles.
Natalie Zemon Davis was educated at Smith College, Radcliffe College, and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. 1959). She has taught at Brown University, at the University of Toronto, at the University of California at Berkeley, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and at Princeton University. Now Professor Emeritus from Princeton, she is affiliated with the University of Toronto.
Date: Tuesday 15 April 2014
Time: 15.30-17.00
Room 005, Lipsius building (across KITLV building),
Leiden University, Cleveringaplaats 1 , 2311 BD  Leiden

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