New Books Network

David Doddington

Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South

Cambridge University Press 2018

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 2, 2019 Adam McNeil

Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South (Cambridge University Press, 2018)  demonstrates the significance of internal divisions, comparison, and conflict in shaping gender and...

Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South (Cambridge University Press, 2018)  demonstrates the significance of internal divisions, comparison, and conflict in shaping gender and status in slave communities of the American South. David Doddington seeks to move beyond unilateral discussions of slave masculinity, and instead demonstrates how the repressions of slavery were both personal and political. Rather than automatically support one another against an emasculatory white society, Doddington explores how enslaved people negotiated identities in relation to one another, through comparisons between men and different forms of manhood held up for judgment. An examination of the framework in which enslaved people crafted identities demonstrates the fluidity of gender as a social and cultural phenomenon that defied monolithic models of black masculinity, solidarity, and victimization. Focusing on work, authority, honor, sex, leisure, and violence, this book is a full-length treatment of the idea of ‘masculinity’ among slave communities of the Old South.


Adam McNeil is a History PhD Student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick