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Uncommon Sense

By Editor · April 29, 2024

J.E. Morgan

fellowships 2 min read

J.E. Morgan, 2023-2024 OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellow

J.E. Morgan is a historian of gender, race, and sexuality and the intersections of culture and law in the Anglo-Atlantic of the long eighteenth century. Dr. Morgan completed her doctorate in history at Emory University in 2021 and has received research support from the Cromwell Foundation and American Legal Society and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, among others, in addition to the OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship.

As an OI-NEH postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Morgan will be revising her first monograph, entitled American Concubines: Gender, Race, Law, and Power. This book examines how conceptions of marriage, race, and rape took shape around white men’s long-term, sexual enslavement of women of African descent. This practice often has been called “concubinage” in histories of Atlantic slavery; however, a significant portion of the project focuses on examining this term in cultural and legal contexts.

From the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century, the practice of concubinage shows sexual violence to be a fundamental component of the development of culture and law in slave societies of the Anglo-Atlantic. This book examines how enslavers enacted laws that made concubinage a legal and cultural expression of white dominance. It also centers the actions of enslaved women to examine concubinage as a space in which they fought against the terms of their enslavement in diverse and sometimes disparate ways that challenged the racial order of slave societies.

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