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Conceiving Freedom
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Conceiving Freedom: Women of Color, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro

Camillia Cowling


This book shows how gender shaped urban routes to freedom for the enslaved during the process of gradual emancipation in Cuba and Brazil, which occurred only after the rest of Latin America had abolished slavery and even after the American Civil War. Focusing on late nineteenth-century Havana and Rio de Janeiro, it argues that enslaved women played a dominant role in carving out freedom for themselves and their children through the courts. The author examines how women, typically illiterate but with access to scribes, instigated myriad successful petitions for emancipation, often using “free-w ... More

Keywords: emancipation, Cuba, Brazil, Latin America, slavery, American Civil War, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, enslaved women, freedom

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9781469610870
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9781469610894_Cowling


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Camillia Cowling, author