Black Woman's Burden: Commodifying Black Reproduction

Paperback | March 15, 2011

byNicole Rousseau

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Black Woman’s Burden examines the historical endeavors to regulate Black female sexuality and reproduction in the United States through methods of exploitation, control, repression, and coercion. The myth of the “angry Black woman” has been built over generations through clever rhetoric and oppressive social policy. Here Rousseau explores the continued impact of labeling and stereotyping on the development of policies that lead to the construction of national, racial, and gender identities for Black women. 

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Black Woman’s Burden examines the historical endeavors to regulate Black female sexuality and reproduction in the United States through methods of exploitation, control, repression, and coercion. The myth of the “angry Black woman” has been built over generations through clever rhetoric and oppressive social policy. Here Rousseau explo...

Nicole Rousseau is assistant professor in the department of Sociology at Kent State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.55 inPublished:March 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230113168

ISBN - 13:9780230113169

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Table of Contents

Part One: Why Black Reproduction? * Introduction * The Significance of Social Rhetoric * On Historical Materialist Theory & Method * Applying the Historical Materialist Paradigm * Part Two: Slavery Matters! * Becoming Instruments of Production * Is This the White Man’s Burden—Or Ours? * Age Old Pimpin’: Exploitative Reproductive Policies * Part Three: Emancipated…Not Liberated * Labor in the Industrial Age * Becoming a Social Problem * Morons, Mental Defectives, Prostitutes, & Dope Fiends: Restrictive Reproductive Policies * Part Four: A Brand New Day * Global Capitalism in the Electronic Age * Pathologizing the Black Woman * She’s Out of Control: Controlling Reproductive Policies * Vilifying Black Motherhood * Gettin’ Your Tubes Tied: Coercive Reproductive Policies * Part Five: Toward a Theory on the Commodification of Black Women’s Reproduction * Rationalizing Commodification * Social Rhetoric as a Hegemonic Tool * Commodifying Black Reproduction * Part Six: Liberation * Finding Freedom * Notes * Key Concepts and Definitions * Bibliography * Index

Editorial Reviews

“A well researched, well written, and historically imperative work that adds racial, political, and economic context to the issue of reproductive rights. Black Woman’s Burden will likely inform future reproductive rights research in considering the relevance of social rhetoric, and political and economic climates in the examination of women’s experiences.”—Journal of African American Studies “Rousseau engages the reader on topics that are clearly related to women’s reproductive rights, in general, and the impact of the political and economic policies relating to reproduction, Latinas and black women in particular.”—Contemporary Sociology “Black Woman’s Burden is a book that should be read by everyone who believes in human rights. It is that rare book that marries political economy with the reproductive rights of an oppressed class. Once more we see in her brilliant work that the personal experiences have political and historical antecedents. Despite the fact that black women are the most dedicated, educated, and stable members of the black community, they remain the most devalued and stigmatized group among the panorama of sub-groups in the United States. This book explores how a predatory political and economic system operates to deprive her of control over her body, a condition that has existed since her introduction to the new world. This book is worth our reading and, more importantly, needs our action to redress these acts of oppression that remain a fundamental part of her life.”--Robert Staples, Emeritus Professor, Graduate Program in Sociology, University of California, San Francisco“Nicole Rousseau brings a powerful critical lens to a topic frequently ignored, except as a problem rooted in bad behavior: Black Women’s reproduction. In Black Woman’s Burden, Professor Rousseau deploys a cogent historical materialist analysis to Black women’s sexual and reproductive histories. Centrally, her point of departure is political economic, articulating Black women’s historical relations with the capitalist state. Herein is rooted, she argues, the regulation of Black women’s reproduction and resistance to such regulation. Rousseau makes quite a compelling case.”--Rose M. Brewer, Professor of African American & African Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities