Hannah Rosen is an Associate Professor of History and American Studies at William & Mary. Her research and teaching focus on African American social and cultural history and particularly on slavery, emancipation, Reconstruction, and on race and gender in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author of Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South (2009), which received the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, the Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award from the OAH, and the Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Southern Association of Women's Historians. She is currently working on two book projects. The first treats African American experiences surrounding death and burial in the nineteenth-century South and the effects of the segregation of southern cemeteries in the post-emancipation period. The second, a collaboration with other historians as well as literary and legal scholars, investigates enslaved women’s experiences of sexual violence in the antebellum United States. She has also worked extensively on efforts to achieve greater racial equity within university life for students and faculty.
The legal culture of the antebellum South sanctioned sexual violence and terror against enslaved women. However, the legal record also leaves evidence of the ways in which these forms of domination were contested by the enslaved. This lecture explores avenues of protest and strategies of survival crafted by enslaved women while forced to live under the oppressive, violent system of labor and sexual exploitation that was American slavery.