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Free Wombs: A study on the representations of African and African-American women in 19th century Brazil and Cuba

Grant number: 23/12684-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 05, 2024
Effective date (End): March 04, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of America
Principal Investigator:Maria Helena Pereira Toledo Machado
Grantee:Caroline Passarini Sousa
Supervisor: Miriam Herrera Jerez
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidad de La Habana (UH), Cuba  
Associated to the scholarship:22/01200-2 - Free wombs: study on the representations of African and African-American women in Brazil and Cuba in the 19th century, BP.DR


This proposal aims to present a comprehensive plan to be developed as a research through FAPESP´s BEPE (Research Internship Abroad) for our Doctoral Degree under development at University of São Paulo, entitled: "Free Wombs: Study on the representations of African and African-American women in 19th century Brazil and Cuba''. This investigation seeks to analyze and comprehend the construction of black women's representation - enslaved, freed and freed to be - in the background of discussion and approval of anti-slavery politics, a gradual process in Brazil and Cuba throughout the 19th century. The law commonly named as Free Womb Law (Leis de Ventre Livre) freed children born out of enslaved wombs, who should work to their mother's owners. But, by liberating the wombs of enslaved women they also interfered directly over their bodies, reproduction powers and motherhood. Therefore, the research is based on extensive national and international documentation, in order to track all statements and opinions around the Brazilian and Cuban laws concerning the enslaved women. Then, the analysis centers on how these women are being assessed in regard to their agency, their body, sexuality, reproductive powers and what are their historical role in the exercise of motherhood. While Cuba is the object of this research, it is essential that we have access to Cuban bibliography, collections and libraries so that the issues clarified can be worked on. Therefore, we applied for a research internship (BEPE) at the history department of the University of Havana, under the supervision of Professor Miriam Herrera Jerez.

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