Kathleen Brown Re-thinks Gender and Race in ‘Undoing Slavery’

March 1, 2016

In 1981, while teaching “Ages of Man” to 9th graders at an all-girls high school, Kathleen Brown noted the irony. Brown, now a professor of history, says that at the time she felt poorly equipped to redesign the course, which focused on political, military, and economic history from a global perspective. After two years of grappling with the lack of women’s representation in the curriculum, she headed to graduate school to focus more on women’s history and became interested in the history of race and slavery.

“I wanted to find a way to write about gender, race, and slavery together that might help gender historians to rethink their approach to the history of women,” says Brown, “but at the same time, I wanted historians of race and slavery to bring gender more prominently into their analyses.”

Brown is currently on sabbatical working on a forthcoming book, Undoing Slavery. In it, she ties it all together, returning to her origins as a high school history teacher and prompting further questions about gender, race, and slavery. But this time, she’s looking at it exclusively through an abolitionist lens.

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