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Flewellen, Ayana Aisha

Grant Type
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
California, Berkeley, U. of
Active Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Flewellen, Dr. Ayana A., U. of California, Berkeley, CA, The Clothes on Their Backs: Sartorial Practices of Self-making at the Estate Little Princess

In the midst of racialized servitude, sexual exploitation, and economic disenfranchisement, that marked the enslavement and post-emancipation eras in the Danish West Indies (1754-1917), Afro-Crucians were styling their hair with combs, lacing glass beads around their necks, dyeing coarse-cotton fabric with indigo-berry and vine sorrel, and fastening buttons to adorn their bodies and dress their social lives. My research explores how race, gender, and status/class shaped Afro-Crucian identity formation from slavery through freedom. I investigate the complex interplay between structural forms of oppression and agency by focusing on the ways enslaved, and later free Afro-Crucians utilized dress to negotiate racism, sexual exploitation, and exploitive capitalism. Analyzing material culture and documentary data through an intersectional Black feminist theoretical framework, I posit that quotidian dress practices ' how people dressed their bodies in their everyday lives ' constitute the body and form identities through their repetitive daily nature.